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Fulton Science Academy High Appeals to Keep its Charter

The Georgia Department of Education was asked to help stop an attempt by Fulton County Schools to close the public charter school.

Fulton Science Academy High School formally asked the state to help keep the doors of the Alpharetta public charter school open.

The Fulton Science Academy High School Governing Board issued the following statement:

“The parents, students and faculty are committed to preserving the high school’s charter and the integrity of its universally recognized academic programs.  We look forward to presenting our case to the state school board as well as the facts surrounding our charter and FSA’s successes as a high-performing STEM school," the board's statement, released Thursday afternoon, said.

Fulton County Schools told the school's governing board it planned to close the school after this academic year, two years before its charter is scheduled to expire. A public hearing on Dec. 18, 2012, gave the charter school's governing board a chance to lobby the Fulton County Board of Education to stop the plan by Superintendent Robert Avossa to close the school, but it didn't change their minds.

On Jan. 16, the governing board received a letter from the Fulton County Board of Education president advising them the county plans to terminate its charter as of June 30. That's a full two years before the charter is set to expire on June 30, 2015.

The governing board's attorney, Rocco E. Testani of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan sent the Georgia Department of Education a letter that sought to refute every accusation made by the Superintendent's office used as reasons to close the school. His letter said, "there are insufficient factual and legal grounds for termination."

Testani responded to nine primary issues identified by the Fulton County Board of Education in its letter:

  1. No evidence exists supporting allegations of appearances of conflict of interest and self-dealing among members of the Governing Board;
  2. The allegation that the governing board lacks independence is contradicted by its members' testimony, meeting minutes and actions, and its full accreditation by SACS;
  3. A construction bond went into default because a separate entity, Fulton Science Academy Middle School, failed to keep its charter. The high school has no obligation to repay any bond financing and it has sufficient cash reserves;
  4. Fulton Science Academy High School fully disclosed the bond debt and the Fulton County School Board knew about it;
  5. Fulton County School Board members acknowledged on the record during the Dec. 18 public hearing that there is no evidence the school charged any student for online classes;
  6. Claims that the school failed to wholly cooperate is directly contradicted by Fulton County Schools' staff comments complimenting the school for responsiveness and cooperation during the audit;
  7. The public charter school fully complies with its student attendance reporting obligations, and follows an official process to deal with chronic tardiness and abscences;
  8. Allegations that the school failed to follow school board guidelines concerning international field trips is without support;
  9. The school's failure to meet mandatory enrollment targets is wrong in that the school's charter with the school system does not include mandatory enrollment targets or requirements. Any enrollment downturn was blamed on negativity created by t Fulton Science Academy Middle School losing its charter and statements made by Superintendent Avossa about the high school, Testani's letter said.

He also wrote "in many instances, the allegations are directly contradicted by FCBOE's own documents and statements, and in other instances, are based on hearsay or other matters that are not contained in the Charter."

vincent krosse January 25, 2013 at 03:59 AM
Fulton county's claim on bond default is a total joke. Recently, I did lots of research on a company before I put my $1,000 on their shares in the stock market. Now, who would believe that the lenders when they poured millions of dollars to a local school will only take the words of the School board without listening the county officials and also the credit rating agencies. Everybody knows how difficult it is now to get financing from the financial markets nowadays. I wonder why nobody questions the Fulton county's silence on this matter at the time of bond financing. If I see that my boys are about the hurt themselves, I will stop them before it happens. Maybe, FSA schools are the foster child in the eyes of the Fulton County.
Pam Broadwell January 25, 2013 at 02:13 PM
It is all politics. Money, control and power... I am actually happy for FSA High. They don't have to suffer under Fulton County School System three more years. They can carry their charter under the newly established state charter commission. In my opinion, the sad part is that Fulton County School System bullies this schools and there is no oversight on Fulton County School System's wrongdoings. Anyway, maybe it is all for good. Nationally recognized FSA middle converted to a private school and they do amazingly well. Maybe God thinks these dedicated admin and staff of FSA schools should work under better conditions. :)
MarkMunoz January 28, 2013 at 05:52 PM
Don't make a mistake and post anonymously at the school, they know where the comments come from. One thing not addressed in this story is the Wells Fargo Lawsuit against the governing board of the school for $19 million. That and the fact they already tried to salvage their middle school but failed, it is now a private school as this one should be. Lets see if anyone will pay $14,000 for their children to attend this school, nothing special academically. But that marketing and advertising we give high marks to.
MarkMunoz January 28, 2013 at 05:56 PM
How much did they pay Rocco to write this letter? Incidently the statement of the principal has nothing to do with anything here. This group tried unsuccessfuly to migrate their own lawyers and accounts to the USA via h1-b Visas. It is apparent why and the only other group that has their own accountants and lawyers is the Mafia. Alas there is always a law firm in the USA in our current economy that will write a letter for a cool $10,000 deposit (for starters)
Citizen Kane February 08, 2013 at 04:31 AM
So the school's property was bought at foreclosure on the courthouse steps by TruGlobe. https://cgov.sos.state.ga.us/Account.aspx/ViewEntityData?entityId=4562464 TruGlobe is a for profit corporation. https://cgov.sos.state.ga.us/Account.aspx/ViewEntityData?entityId=4562464 Somehow I just wonder if they don't plan to make a profit from certain Georgia charter schools in the near future...if a state charter is granted.
MarkMunoz February 09, 2013 at 04:55 AM
So citizen cane, you are pointing out that TruGlobe is owned by Turkish investors. Got to hand it to them bid cheap and grab back the land that you forfeited on. Nice going Ahmet.
FSA Supporter February 09, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Running a business for a profit is a problem for you CK?? I still believe America is about business and opportunity, how about you?
MarkMunoz February 09, 2013 at 09:37 PM
FSA Supporter, I cannot anser for Citizen Kane but I can tell you that most people probably would be about free enterprise. What most Americans take issue with is when you are receiving American tax money for educational purposes, or getting "loans" ..you must and should be held accountable and transparent. Accountability and Transparency is something that your group sorely lacks. This is why you are being denied your applications, renewals and expansions. Very simply, stop derailing the conversations or comments and stick to the topic. Which is "FSA high school appeals to keep it's charter" you are losing this charter too. No matter if your rich TUSKON investors bid on the foreclosed land or bail you out of hock with Wells Fargo. The land will then have to be for your private school.
Aimee Nobile March 11, 2013 at 01:55 AM
I'd rather have tax dollars go to a school that is outperforming with less money, rather than one that is mediocre. The truth is, this school has had outstanding performance, as well as happy parents and students. What is so horrible about that? Last I checked, the parents of the students at the school paid tax dollars too? Public schools are simply getting by teaching for CRCT's only, and teaching mediocrity among their students. Why shouldn't they? The very teachers teaching these kid's have tenure and perhaps teachers unions? Two things that epitomize the status quo! I think the only one's profiting from this school are the well educated students!
MarkMunoz April 15, 2013 at 02:56 PM
I agree that I would rather my tax dollars go to a school that is "Outperforming' but in this case it is not happening. Just because this "group" advertises itself as award winning doesn't make it so. Apparently the majority of the community, parents of ex students of this "school", ex teachers (who have taken out a lawsuit) agree. You stole back the school by creating a sham of a company TruGlobe (Turkish investors) to buy back the school cents on the dollar of the original selling price of $19 million. Congratulations you have fooled the American tax payer once again. Here is a web site compiled by ex parents and teachers of this school with FACTS, hard data and government info. What does it take to close you down? Another visit from the FBI? http://georgiacharterschooldisgrace.com/

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