Whatever happened to ... Fourth charter school plans opening in fall

photo President and Executive Director of Smart Schools Inc. Tommie Henderson plans to turn his new charter school specializing in business and law into a model of modern education.

Question: Whatever happened to plans for the New Consortium School of Law and Business charter school in Chattanooga?

Answer: Negotiations are continuing and plans have been made to have a contract signed by the end of March for the school.

"We are excited to continue with our plans to open this fall," said Tommie Henderson, president and executive director of SMART Schools Inc., the Memphis-based company that will operate the school.

The Hamilton County Board of Education voted a year ago to allow Smart Schools to open the charter school in Chattanooga. Plans called for the school to open in fall 2012. But in June, school officials said they wanted to "take a year of planning and get to know the community before we actually open our school," and moved the opening date back a year.

The New Consortium School will be the city's fourth charter school. A site has still not been determined, but the school plans to open with 35 sixth-graders and add a grade every school year, eventually offering grades six through 12.

The school is negotiating with the Board of Education on the services to be offered, though the school will have a primary academic focus on business and law.

Once the contract is signed the school will begin accepting student applications.

Henderson's organization, founded in 2009, operates two New Consortium Schools in West Tennessee.

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