Humes Optional School Scrubbed by Schools Board

By Bill Dries

Plans for an optional school at Humes Middle School in the new school year were called off Tuesday, March 19, by the countywide school board.

Students head to after-school arts and music classes at Humes Middle School. Plans for an optional school at Humes were called off this week. (Photo: Lance Murphey)

Bravo Academy was to be an optional school for the musical arts with Humes closed as a conventional school by the school system.

But interim Memphis City Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson told the board Tuesday he had come to a tentative agreement with the state-led Achievement School District, which had been educating one of the three grades at Humes this school year out of Gordon Elementary School.

The charter school operated for the ASD by Gestalt Community Schools will move into Humes and include the two remaining grades there in its efforts.

An alternative school Memphis City Schools also has at Humes would remain there in a co-location agreement with the Achievement School District.

Both actions are to be voted on by the school board. The board took a first step by voting Tuesday to rescind its decision to close Humes.

Hopson also said ASD superintendent Chris Barbic told him Gestalt was about to secure a $10 million to $11 million grant to refurbish Humes.

Hopson cited that as well as the “fiscal crisis we are in at this time,” as factors in his recommendation as well as plans for Bravo Academy that were drifting toward an arts integration curriculum and away from the board’s original intent.

A total of 65 children had enrolled in Bravo Academy for the coming school year and their parents are exploring alternative assignments with school system administrators.

Meanwhile, the board approved plans Tuesday for two new charter schools to open next year within Northside and Southside high schools.

The W.E.B. DuBois Consortium whose leadership includes former Memphis Mayor and Memphis City Schools superintendent Willie Herenton will operate the charters.

The consortium has a three-year lease at each school for $141,500 a year.

Herenton has talked of the charters as schools for children in juvenile detention who would otherwise return to their original schools after they are released from detention.