The State Board of Education has approved a contract to turn over operation of Southside-Ashpole Elementary to the charter school operator Achievement for All Children.
It's the latest step for the state's new Innovative School District, an experiment to improve low-performing schools by handing their control away from their local school districts and giving it to an outside entity.
The contract outlines the operator's responsibilities, which include hiring the school's principal and implementing curriculum and professional development. Achievement for All Children will be compensated with a management fee of $100,000. That payment will go to the operator's personnel and administrative expenses, as outlined in a document presented to the State Board of Education by Innovative School District Superintendent Eric Hall. The State Board of Education can change the management fee annually based on how well the operator is meeting its contract.
The announcement in April that Achievement for All Children won the bid to operate the school came with some controversy. The operator has ties to a legislator who introduced the law to create the school district. Former representative Rob Bryan sits on Achievement for All Children's board. State Board of Education members in April expressed concerns that the group did not have an independent track record of operating schools. The Board voted 7-to-4 in April to select the operator and unanimously in May to award the contract.
Hall says the next step will be to hire a principal to lead the school, which will open under the new management in August.