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Arkansas Education Board approves renewal of charters for operation of 10 schools

State grants multiyear extensions to 10 schools or systems by Cynthia Howell | January 14, 2022 at 3:37 a.m.
Brad Walker (left) talks with Betsy Delgado after an event in Little Rock in this September 2017 file photo. The event announced the opening of The Excel Center, an adult high school under the aegis of Goodwill Industries of Arkansas. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo)

The Arkansas Board of Education on Thursday approved the multiyear renewals of charters for 10 of the state's open-enrollment and conversion charter schools and school systems.

Each of the affected schools or systems had charters, or contracts, with the state that were due to expire at the end of this school year. Without the charter renewals, the schools would be ineligible for state funding and unable to continue to operate.

In each case, the Education Board approved the renewals of the charters based on the recommendations of the state' s Charter Authorizing Panel, which had reviewed the operations of the schools.

The Education Board has the authority to accept the panel's recommendations or conduct its own review of a charter school plan before approving its opening, its renewal or changes in the charter terms.

Open-enrollment charter schools -- operated by nonprofit organizations other than traditional school systems -- that received renewal approval Thursday were:

• The Excel Center that is operated in Little Rock by Goodwill Industries of Arkansas, which provides ninth through 12th grades for up to 1,050 adults who did not earn a diploma in a traditional high school; five-year renewal.

• Lighthouse Academies of Arkansas, which serves a maximum of 2,419 students in kindergarten through 12th grades at campuses in North Little Rock, Jacksonville and Pine Bluff; five-year renewal.

• Exalt Academy of Southwest Little Rock. It serves up to 540 students in kindergarten-through-eighth grades; 10-year renewal.

Conversion charter schools, which are operated by traditional school districts, that received charter renewals were:

• Cabot Panther Academy (formerly the Academic Center of Excellence) for up to 2,500 students in fifth through 12th grades; five-year renewal.

• Hot Springs Junior Academy for up to 900 in grades seven through nine; five-year renewal.

• Cross County Elementary for up to 500 students in kindergarten through sixth grades; five-year renewal.

• Lincoln High School for up to 850 in grades nine through 12; five-year renewal.

• Prairie Grove High for grades nine through 12; five-year renewal.

• North Little Rock Center of Excellence for up to 3,000 in grades nine through 12; five-year renewal.

• River Valley Virtual Academy in Van Buren for up to 1,000 in grades kindergarten through 12; five-year renewal.

Print Headline: Board OKs charter renewals

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