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State Board of Education Releases Report on Gaffney Athletic Preparatory Academy Charter School

Thursday, August 13, 2020 | 12:25pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

CONTACT: Elizabeth Tullos             
Elizabeth.Tullos@tn.gov
615-961-3382

On Thursday, the Executive Director of the State Board of Education, Dr. Sara Morrison, released the reports of her findings on the charter application appeal for Gaffney Athletic Preparatory Academy (GAPA); her recommendation to the State Board is to affirm Monroe County Schools’ decision to deny the charter school’s amended application. 

Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A.) § 49-13-108 allows a sponsor whose amended application has been denied by a local board of education to appeal that decision to the State Board of Education. Pursuant to T.C.A. § 49-13-108 and State Board Policy 2.500, State Board staff and an independent charter application review committee conducted a de novo, on the record review of the amended application under appeal as well as a virtual public hearing with representatives of GAPA and Monroe County Schools. Upon receipt of the appeal from GAPA in June 2020, State Board staff began their review process, which included an examination of the documentation included in the notice of appeal and Monroe County School’s decision to deny the amendment petition.

In order to overturn the decision of the local board of education on a charter school application, the State Board must find that the local board’s decision to deny the charter application was contrary to the best interests of the students, local education agency (LEA), or community. Since the application is proposing to locate within an LEA that does not contain a school on the current or last preceding Priority School List, the State Board has the ability to affirm the local board’s decision, to deny, or to remand the decision to the local board of education with written instructions for approval of the charter. 

The Monroe County Schools review committee found that the academic, operational, and financial sections of the GAPA initial application and the amended application failed to meet the standard of the state rubric for approval. The State Board charter application review committee affirmed the findings of Monroe County Schools in their review of the GAPA amended application. In the Executive Director’s Findings and Recommendations Report, Dr. Morrison concludes that the Monroe County Schools’ decision to deny the GAPA amended application was not contrary to the best interests of the students, LEA, or community.

The full Executive Director’s Findings and Recommendations Report is available on the State Board of Education website. Members of the Board will vote on GAPA’s charter application appeal at their August 17, 2020 meeting. State Board staff will present the Executive Director’s report and findings to board members before the final vote.


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The Tennessee State Board of Education is a ten-member, governor-appointed and legislatively confirmed board charged under the law with rulemaking and policymaking for K-12 education. Through a close partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education, the Board maintains oversight in K-12 implementation and academic standards.