Hoover City Schools

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HCS Not Inclined to Become Charter School Authorizer

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. —The deadline has been extended for school districts in Alabama to decide if they want to participate in public charter schools.  HCS Superintendent of Education Dr. Kathy Murphy spoke to Alabama's 13 about this issue.

The Alabama Department of Education is now giving school systems until Sept. 15 to decide if they want to be a public charter school authorizer.

School systems registered as authorizers would have the authority to approve applications for public charter schools and they would be required to oversee public charter schools in the district.

By the original deadline of Sept. 1, only four school systems had registered as a public charter school authorizer. No school system in central Alabama is registered.

Hoover City Schools has already decided not to be a public charter school authorizer. Superintendent Dr. Kathy Murphy said one of the main contributing factors to her decision was the lack of information.

“I’m willing to think outside the box. Be innovative. Be creative. I'm willing to take calculated risk,” Murphy explained. “What I'm not willing to do is to ask our board to make a decision to authorize charter schools when missing guidelines and financial implications are unknown to us at this time."

According to Murphy, the Alabama Department of Education Office of Public Charter Schools won’t release preliminary guidelines until October.

Another concern of Murphy is the operation of public charter schools. Charter schools are ones that are publicly funded but operate independently from state regulated school systems.

“We all like flexibility, but what I would be asking our board to do is to incur the liability, allow an outside governing entity to govern that school, while we assume the liability with some sort of assumption that they can do it better than we’re doing it,” Murphy said.

If a school system is not an authorizer, applications go straight to the Alabama Public Charter School Commission. The first public charter school in Alabama is expected to open in 2017.