Charter school supporters look to expand in RI

Providence, R.I. – The group that opened the Democracy Prep Charter School in Cumberland is looking to expand and bring a new charter school operator into the state.

Democracy Prep opened last year as the state's first mayoral academy. That means it operates completely outside of union contract rules. Now organizers are moving to build a network of similar schools.

Rhode Island Mayoral Academies spokesman Mike Magee says he's in talks with Achievement First, the operator of 17 charter schools in New York and Connecticut.

"What we're talking about now is the potential overtime to open five schools with achievement first - which would likely be two elementary schools, two middle schools and a high school," Magee says.

An elementary school serving Providence and Cranston could open as early as next year, if it gets a green light from state officials. Charter school advocates say Achievement First has a strong reputation for closing achievement gaps among minority and low-income students.