Medical magnet school gains support

Published 1:24 am Thursday, February 11, 2010

Selma City Council members passed a resolution Tuesday in support of the Selma Academy of Medical Sciences, a magnet school.

These forms of schools are public schools with a diversified student body and courses specializing in certain academic areas or curricula. Magnet schools can be elementary, middle or high school level schools.

Selma City Schools Superintendent Dr. Austin Obasohan and Selma School Board members will meet soon to discuss the strategic plan of the board and what steps to take next in the development of the magnet school.

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“This would be a good thing for our area to grow our own doctors,” Dr. Obasohan said.

The Selma-Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Troy University, Vaughan Regional Medical Center, The University of Alabama, the city council and other organizations support the creation of this school.

The school system seeks the support of community organizations to have a list of community support prepared when the time comes to write a grant proposal. The school system has not asked any of the community supporters for money. The support is purely to help with grant applications, Obasohan said.

The next step in the process is to meet with the school board so Dr. Obasohan and board members can be equally informed of the current information.

“I want to meet with them before we move forward,” Dr. Obasohan said.

He asks the committee to be patient with the board as members discuss the information at hand.

The creation of a magnet school in Selma will not be affected by the debate in the Alabama House about allowing the opening of charter schools in the state.

In reaction to the Alabama House Education Appropriations Committee, Gov. Bob Riley is voicing his support of charter schools. Creating schools of this manner will allow Alabama to be more competitive in the running for part of the $180 million Alabama has applied for of the $4.3 billion allocated to educational funding from President Obama’s “Race to the Top” competitive grant program that encourages schools to use educational reforms and innovations.

Charter schools are public schools, but they do not have as many rules as other public schools, yet are still held very accountable for the results of the school.

The schools must follow state laws of accountability, health and safety, and have been found to improve the education of failing schools, according to the office of Gov. Riley.

Alabama is one of 11 states that does not allow charter schools.