Discussions for Charter School That Would Give High School Diploma and Associates Degree

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JACKSON (WILX)- A school that would put others to shame; the Jackson Community College is discussing starting a charter school that would increase the quality of education in the area. Students would graduate with not only a high school diploma, but an associates degree as well.

The school would be called the Jackson Preparatory and Early College, a year round school for grades 6-13.

"Students can graduate with a certificate or associates degree. As a parent that writes a check for higher education that's nearly $50,000 dollars that they would get at no cost through this program," said President of the National Charter Schools Institute Jim Goenner.

The idea comes after concerned families approached the board dissatisfied with the quality of education in Jackson County.

"We have been looking at this a long time before contacted by citizens. That just brought the whole thing forward," said JCC Board of Trustee's Chairperson Dr. Ed Mathein.

But not everyone is too keen about the idea, some are afraid that those who could benefit most from the school wont have the transportation or the money to afford lunch at the school.

"They say it's a public school but there's criteria to get in. There's things the public school has to provide that this charter school doesn't,"

A building for grades 6-8 would be built on the JCC campus, the other grades 9-13 would be integrated into existing buildings on campus. They would hope for 100 students per class, 25 students per classroom, with more than one faculty member per classroom.

"The goal is to make this a 6-13 program that kids can come in and don't go through traditional grades. They go through a competency based model where they can take ownership of their education," said Goenner.

The board decided that they don't want to rush the decision and will have another study session before their meeting on Monday. They must make a decision before February to get grant money from the state.

"There are a couple board members who are positive but there are still some not sure yet," said Mathein.

The board has yet to discuss what the developmental cost of the new school would be but after the first year board president dr. Mathein says the school would then be funded by the state.

If approved the soonest the school could begin would be fall of 2013. They would start with only grades 6-10.

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