East Nashville charter school approved by Metro school board

East Nashville charter school approved by Metro school board (Image 1)

The Metropolitan Nashville Board of Education approved a charter school for east Nashville on Tuesday.

According to The Tennessean, only three board members argued against the approval, citing financial implications that charter schools might have on the district's budget next year.

The other five members voted to approve the Explore! Community School following a passionate plea from board member Elissa Kim.

“How can we not bring this opportunity to my kids in East Nashville?” she asked. “To me, it's about justice.”

The new charter school will serve kindergarten through eighth grade students.  It will be the second one operated by the Martha O'Bryan center, a local organization dedicated to helping low-income families.

The other school the organization operates, East End Preparatory, has been very successful, Kim cited.

She also noted that the school's kindergartners perform better in math than 96% of kindergartners in the nation, and outperform 84% of their peers in reading nationwide.

The board members that did not approve Explore! Community School cited the “$9,200 per-pupil expenditure that follows a student from traditional public schools to a charter school when he leaves”, the newspaper wrote.

Two of those who voted against the school also did so because they believe charter schools could drain money from traditional public schools to the point that programs would have to be cut or schools closed.

The school board was initially set to vote on Explore! Community School in June, was asked to resubmit their proposal so they could answer questions from a review committee.

*The Tennessean contributed to this report.

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