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Argument: Charter schools compete with and threaten public schools

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Kendall Owens. "Charter school expansion would bring competition for public school money". Times Herald. October 16, 2008 - The announcement Tuesday that a charter school in Helena-West Helena is looking to expand to a regional system that could include Forrest City is being greeted cautiously by officials with the Forrest City School District.

Officials with the Knowledge Is Power Program: Delta College Preparatory School announced expansion plans that will see the school grow from its current two-school format to 12 schools throughout the Delta region by 2019, thanks to a $2.6 million grant. KIPP director Scott Shirey spoke at Tuesday’s Forrest City Rotary Club meeting to outline the program and its expansion plans.

Forrest City School District Superintendent Dr. Jerry Woods was not at Tuesday’s meeting, but said he does have some concerns about the possibility of a school moving into the area which would compete with the FCSD for student dollars.

“We do have some concerns, and the first one would be with the issues that the district would face based on our already declining enrollment if a charter school was to come to the area. We know that there have been some issues in the district, and we have been clear and transparent in discussing those issues. But, we want to be able to improve what we do for our children and we want to be able to educate all of the children in the Forrest City School District,” said Woods.

Shirey said during the meeting Tuesday that concerns with declining enrollment have also been discussed involving the Helena-West Helena School District and the impact that loss of revenue has had on the district.

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