Rutherford County Leaders Vote Down Charter School – Officials Scoff at Charter Application


Rutherford County Commissioners and Rutherford County School Board members recently voted not to allow Rutherford Collegiate Prep to open in the northwest area of the county in Smyrna and La Vergne. 

According to the Daily News Journal, the creators of Rutherford Collegiate Prep, a public charter school seeking state approval to operate in northwest Rutherford County, believe local families deserve education options. 

The plan is to build a brand new school in La Vergne or Smyrna, and rely on private capital to finance it, said Richard Page, president of the Noble Education Initiative, a not-for-profit organization.  

The proposed K-8 charter school could help relieve campus overcrowding for a fast-growing Rutherford County public school system. The district depends on 154 portable classrooms. About 70 are at schools in La Vergne and Smyrna, including 38 for campuses serving elementary and middle school grades.

While Rutherford Collegiate Prep would report to the Re-Think Forward Inc. board — also a not-for-profit organization — instead of the Rutherford County Board of Education, Page said the charter school would still be mandated to perform well on standardized tests and provide state officials with audited financial records, same as its sister school, Nashville Collegiate Prep.


The video is the Charter School Appeal Public Hearing December 7th

Rutherford Collegiate Prep stated that they chose the area due to several requests from Rutherford County parents, the current school overcrowding and high growth in the northwest of the county—one of the fastest growing areas of the country.

Ten of the twelve Title 1 schools are in the area of the proposed charter school. A Title I school is a school that receives federal funds to support the academic achievement of Title I students. … Schools are eligible to use Title I funds to operate school-wide programs that serve all children in the school if at least 40% of the student population comes from low income families.
The Title 1 schools in the Smyrna and La Vergne areas include; David Youree Elementary School, Smyrna Primary School, Smyrna Middle School, John Coleman School, Smyrna Elementary School, Cedar Grove Elementary School, La Vergne Lake Elementary, La Vergne Middle, Roy Waldron and La Vergne High School.

Noble Collegiate Academy
Gov. Bill Lee and local Nashville officials open southeast Nashville’s newest K-8 public charter southeast Nashville’s newest K-8 public charter Monday afternoon. (FOX 17 News photo)

On April 19th Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Nashville community leaders broke ground on southeast Nashville’s newest K-8 public charter school Monday afternoon. The new charter school is operated by the same group that is proposing Rutherford Collegiate Prep. 

Nashville Collegiate Prep opened on Bell Road near Old Hickory Blvd. The school has unique community classrooms that each have the space for six traditional-sized classrooms. The design is driven toward both large and small group learning.


The spacious learning community for kindergarten students host adjustable walls, flexible seating and break-out rooms. Each grade level community is made up of individual room with a large collaborative instructional space in the center and adjustable walls. The school will also have a science lab, art classroom, music room and indoor play area.

If you are interested in showing your support for the proposed Rutherford Collegiate Prep Academy contact Jackie Smith, Director of Community Outreach with Noble Collegiate Prep at 317-625-5569.

What Are Charter Schools? How Do They Work?

A charter school is a tuition-free school of choice that is publicly funded but independently run. Conceived over 25 years ago in Minnesota as a means to loosen red tape around public schools and free up educators to innovate, charters have since grown into a national movement that spans 44 states plus the District of Columbia, and includes around 7,000 schools and 3 million students, according to federal figures.

In exchange for exemptions from many of the state laws and regulations that govern traditional public schools, charters are bound to the terms of a contract, or “charter,” that lays out a school’s mission, academic goals, fiscal guidelines, and accountability requirements. On the other side of a charter contract is an authorizer—such as a state agency, a university, or a school district, depending on the state—that has the power to shut down charter schools that do not meet the terms of their contracts.

This arrangement is what charter school advocates refer to as the “charter bargain”: more freedom for more accountability. The regulations that charters avoid, or how the schools are funded depends on each state’s law.