Community expresses support for new proposed charter school

Community expresses support for new proposed charter school

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Montgomery Public Schools held a public hearing Thursday night to discuss a proposal by LIFE Academy to operate a start-up charter school in Montgomery.

The historic St. Jude campus is the proposed location for the new charter school. This building has been empty since 2014, and LIFE Academy officials say this is the perfect location for a new charter school.

“The proposed location seems to be the most exciting part of it all. People are really excited to see that building being used again,” said LIFE Academy Chairman of the Board Norma Chism.

At the hearing, Chism talked about the basics.

“We plan to start with K-1 and 6, so we’re growing an elementary school and a junior high school at the same time. We plan to open in the fall of ’21,” she said.

The community seemed to like what they heard.

"If a charter school is the best thing for them then they should be able to do that," one Montgomery resident said during the meeting.

But what makes this charter school different? Chism says it the environment.

“We want to bring a trauma-sensitive environment to this community that says we understand that some of our children, students, may be facing difficulties or adversities at home,” said Chism.

That’s why Montgomery residents say education isn’t one size fits all.

“I think we need to do whatever we have to do to make sure our children get a quality education, so we believe that parents should have as many options as possible,” said Christa Andrews.

“If public school is affecting them as far as academic-wise or behavior-wise, I’d prefer that they go to a charter school over public school. Kids growing up, I don’t want to say they’re in a bad environment, but they need more to educate their mind to be on a better path,” said Jackie Banks.

We did not hear anyone at the meeting tonight opposed to the charter school. LIFE Academy officials say they chose this area because they see a lot of potential in the community, and they look forward to building a working partnership with MPS.

The Montgomery County Board of Education is expected to consider the proposal at a special called meeting on Jan. 14.

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