Logistics fall into place for Montgomery’s second charter school opening

Logistics fall into place for Montgomery’s second charter school opening

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - There are new developments with Montgomery’s second charter school. With the new year underway, the logistics of Life Academy are starting to come together for school leaders.

On this misty, gloomy day, Kia Debnam sees nothing but sunshine.

“My dream,” Debnam said as she surveyed the building on West Fairview Avenue.

It’s a dream that’s beginning to come together.

“I think everyone will tell you to dream big and shoot for the stars,” said Debnam, who will be Life Academy’s Executive Director.

What used to be St. Jude Educational Institute will soon become Life Academy, a charter school approved by Montgomery County public school leaders back in March.

“Absolutely everything is on schedule from open enrollment,” she said.

The timeline: Life Academy will close on the building on February 4th. First floor renovations and clean-up begin right away. May 1 is the deadline for students to apply for enrollment, although that date may be extended. Eight students have applied so far. Another 30 families have requested more information.

“We are absolutely free. Students don’t have to pay for breakfast or lunch and we’re hoping we’ll be able to maneuver our budget to offer one uniform per student,” said Debnam.

Life Academy will begin with K through second grade with close to 300 students. The goal is to add grades each year until Life Academy reaches K through 8th. Prospective teachers are being interviewed now.

“I feel like this is my purpose,” she said.

As to whether COVID will still be around when the doors open, there’s a plan for that as well.

“While we are optimistic that it will happen; that we’ll be fully in person. We have contingency plans such as the hybrid like if you want to come some days and virtually others,” said Debnam.

Assuming all goes well this year for Life Academy, opening day should be the first Monday in August.

Debnam says Life Academy will receive its funding from the state, grants and donations. The school is paying the Catholic diocese of Mobile $1 million dollars for the property.

For additional information, check out Life Academy’s website.

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