Parents call charter school transition a 'hostile takeover'

Parents call charter school transition a 'hostile takeover'
Published: Oct. 28, 2014 at 3:59 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 29, 2014 at 2:24 AM CDT
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Why ASD took over Raleigh-Egypt (Source: ASD)
Why ASD took over Raleigh-Egypt (Source: ASD)

SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - Raleigh-Egypt parents are bracing for battle, calling the Achievement School District transition a "hostile takeover" of their school.

If a school falls in the bottom five-percent in the state, the ASD takes them over. The school is then matched with a charter school operator.

Raleigh-Egypt High School is being matched with the

out of California. Raleigh-Egypt is one of three schools scheduled to switch to ASD in 2015.

Raleigh-Egypt parents argue other schools are at greater risk, and question if they were chosen because they have the most students--which means more money for whichever charter school takes over.

"I feel like it's being taken away from parents," Dana Jenkins said. "As parents, we don't have a voice."

But charter school leaders say the bottom line is students at under performing schools aren't getting a fair shake.

"What we know at Raleigh-Egypt High School is students are coming in at a sixth grade level," Megan Quale of Green Dot Public Schools said. "So we need to do some literacy intervention."

Quale says after school programs will stay the same, but academic programs will be improved.

Parents want to know why Raleigh-Egypt was taken over instead of other schools with worse performance ratings.

The school district said Raleigh-Egypt met three qualifications, but--after repeated questions--never elaborated how it compares to the other schools.

"All I'm asking is for them to give this team that's now in place a chance to either sink or swim," Tennessee Representative Antonio Parkinson said.

Green Dot takes over the school building June 1st.

The company has different benefits, and salary schedules, so teachers will have to reapply for jobs.

South Side and Wooddale Middle Schools are scheduled to join Raleigh-Egypt High next year.

The fate of the nine other schools will be decided in December.

The next community meeting is scheduled for Wednesday night at 5:30 at Wooddale Middle School.

ASD sent us the following information to help clear up what's going on (they also made a graphic about why they took over Raleigh-Egypt which can be found just to the right of this story):

What role did ADS had in this decision?

The Achievement School District and Shelby County Schools collaboratively identified which of the 59 Memphis-based schools on the state Priority list would transition to the ASD for the 2015-16 school year. From the Priority list, both districts identified the bottom 5% of schools and applied performance criteria to each to determine a list of 12 schools to participate in the school transition and matching processes. Raleigh-Egypt High met the mutually agreed-upon criteria for intervention.

Is it a done deal?

Yes. The decision has been made that Raleigh-Egypt High School will join the ASD, matched with Green Dot Public Schools.

What are the next steps?

The Raleigh-Egypt school community—families, students, staff, community members—will continue to meet in order to determine what their neighborhood school will look like next school year and to further plan the school's transition.

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