Bill that could bring charter schools to Knox Co. advances

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A proposal that would create a special panel to authorize charter schools in several Tennessee counties is advancing in the House.

The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Mark White of Memphis was approved on a voice vote in the House Finance Committee on Wednesday and will now be scheduled for a vote by the full House.

The panel would oversee five of the state's lowest performing counties: Davidson, Hamilton, Hardeman, Knox and Shelby.

Currently local school boards decide whether to authorize a charter application. There are 48 charter schools in Tennessee.

Under the proposal, applicants rejected in the five counties could appeal to the nine-member panel that would be appointed by the governor and speakers of the House and Senate.

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