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Proposed aviation-focused charter high school in Birmingham appealing denial of application

The Birmingham Board of Education rejected on Tuesday night the application from the proposed Alabama Aerospace and Aviation High School. Officials from the nascent institution say they will appeal the decision.

AAAHS founder Ruben Morris said in a release he and his team plan to take their application to the Alabama Public Charter School Commission after their rejection by the local authority.

“We want to make good on the promise to the community of delivering another high-quality education option for students and families in Birmingham. We are still accepting intent to enroll applications and still plan to open in the fall of 2022. We are still recruiting quality teachers and planning summer programming, as COVID-19 restrictions will allow,” Morris said in a statement.

The school has plans to operate on the campus of the Southern Museum of Flight on 73rd Street North in Birmingham and serve students in grades 9-12.

Members of the Birmingham Board of Education voted against the aviation high school 5-1 with one abstention.

Morris said in 2020 that students at the school he is attempting to start “would develop complex technical skills through real-world learning opportunities facilitated by industry professionals in the workplace.”

A stated goal of AAAHS is to seek a diverse student body that could then help diversify the aviation industry. They say they have received feedback from industry members about the school. Morris has often cited in interviews that 3% of pilots are people of color.

“We’re excited about this school and the opportunities it will offer to area students,” Morris added. “We’re interested in educating kids and giving them a clear path to rewarding, exciting careers. Again, we appreciate the Board’s consideration, but we’re moving forward with our plans.”

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@new-yhn.local or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.