Redfield charter school tries again for state approval

An application to open the proposed Tri-County Charter School in Redfield will be resubmitted to the seven-member Arkansas Department of Education Charter Authorization Panel at 1 p.m. Thursday in the auditorium of the ADE Building in Little Rock.

The panel unanimously rejected the initial application on Nov. 14. ADE spokesman Kim Friedman said the denial was based on curriculum and financial issues. The Redfield Tri-County Charter School Organization was encouraged, however, to attend to the matters in question and then reapply.

Officials are hoping to win approval and start classes for the 2014-15 school year, serving grades 5-8 with an anticipated student enrollment of 175. An upward class would be added annually through the 12th grade.

The proposed charter school is projected to gain students from Jefferson, Grant and Pulaski counties.

Redfield, which has a public elementary school, is within the White Hall School District.

The charter school drive evolved after the White Hall School Board voted in January to close Redfield Middle School at the close of the 2012-13 academic year. White Hall Middle School will be receiving Redfield’s future middle school students.

The Keep Redfield Middle School Task Force was organized on the premise that the best option to ensure the facility’s future operation would be establishment of a charter school.

Redfield’s City Council agreed in February to petition the White Hall School Board to deed RMS to a non-profit organization that would utilize it as a charter school. But White Hall Superintendent Larry Smith said last month that the district’s attorney, Brandon Robinson, had advised against a donation.

A Wednesday telephone call to Amanda Kight, RTCSO’s secretary, was not returned.