The Atlanta school board -- in a divided Monday vote during the last meeting before a new board takes over -- authorized a public charter school operator to add two new schools and grow enrollment by 1,100 students.
KIPP Metro Atlanta Collaborative Inc., which runs seven charter schools through a contract with Atlanta Public Schools, will be able to increase its enrollment cap from 3,100 students to 4,200 students and open a new kindergarten through fourth-grade primary school and a new fifth- through eighth-grade academy. The enrollment zone would include the entire city of Atlanta, with “preferential weight given to economically disadvantaged students,” according to its proposal.
The Atlanta Board of Education approved the charter school expansion by a 6-3 vote, with Byron Amos, Steven Lee, and Cynthia Briscoe Brown opposed after a vote to table the decision for 30 days failed by the same margin. The approval followed a lengthy debate in which several board members expressed concern about the effect the charter expansion would have on the district’s traditional schools, particularly in the Douglass High School feeder pattern.
A compromise solution the board approved grants KIPP just a one-year lease for the former Walter White Elementary School on Detroit Avenue to operate the new KIPP Soul Academy. The school board members also want the charter school operator to provide transportation so that students throughout the district can attend the new schools.
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