State May Decide Charter School's Fate Today
The Georgia Board of Education's charter committee wants the full board to fast track a vote on the state charter application of Fulton Science Academy Middle School.
Parents and the 500 students at Fulton Science Academy Middle School could learn as soon as today if the school will be open next fall–but it doesn't seem likely.
The Georgia Board of Education's charter committee will recommend to the full board today that they fast track a vote on Fulton Science Academy Middle School's state charter application.
If the state board agrees and follows the Georgia Department of Education's recommendation for denial, teachers and staff at the school will need to look for other jobs, if they haven't already started.
Justin Pauly, a liaison for the state Board of Education at the Department of Education, said the committee is asking to move the decision up by a month because of the reasons in the denial recommendation letter sent to the school and the state board.
Those reasons included the judgement that the school's Governing Board was fiscally irresponsible for issuing nearly $19 million in bonds before the school's charter was renewed, and they didn't follow state regulations and procedures by starting construction before any state approvals were given. The school's contractor stopped work on the site when it learned the county denied its charter renewal.
The state Board of Education will be presented a recommendation from the Department of Education's Charter Division that outlines 11 reasons to deny the charter. The summary acknowledges the school has performed well academically, but goes on to say that's just one measure of a high-quality charter school.
"FSAMS fails to meet the standard for a high-quality charter school due to
governance, financial, and accountability issues and thus does not merit a state
chartered special school charter," the summary states.
If the state denies the charter application, after June 30, 2012 Fulton Science Academy Middle School will no longer be able to operate. The nearly $19 million in bonds will likely suffer another downgrade, this time to a "C" and that could trigger redemption of the bond. With no revenue coming to the middle school, Fulton Sunshine Academy and Fulton Science Academy High School would remain reponsible for bond payments.
To read all the materials presented to the state board, visit its eBoard meeting agenda and click on item J-7.