's state charter application got a recommendation for denial from the GA Department of Education.
The school "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," a summary of the recommendation states.
Lou Erste, director of the department's charter schools division, said the school's attorney asked if they could submit a response to this recommendation.
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The state school board will be given the school's charter petition and the department's recommendation for denial at its May 10 meeting. A decision by the state school board on the charter application is expected on June 14.
A Fulton Science Academy spokesperson said the governing board is crafting a response to the points made in the recommendation for denial.
"We like to say that the charter school is a three-legged stool," Erste said.
Academic performance, financial performance and stability, and its capacity for governance are the three legs, with legal compliance holding it all together.
"In this case the school does well on the one, but not on the other three," he said.
The state listed 11 items that were problems with the charter school.
Moving forward with site and construction plans without state approval was a problem of compliance, Erste said. But the problems go beyond just this school. Fulton Sunshine Academy and are involved because the governing board entered an agreement between all three schools in the $19 million in bond sales.
"Selling bonds and trying to buy that land without even having a charter is even more of an issue," Erste said, "because they put not only their own school at risk but the other two schools."
The recommendation said the school's governing board "jeopardized the financial sustainability of FSAMS and its two sister schools when it rushed to float $19 million in bonds despite its failure to have secured a charter renewal from FCS."
The bond rating was lowered when the the middle school made to them. A bond default could make it difficult for any other Georgia charter school to float a bond.
It's not typical to sell bonds before a charter approval.
James Drinkard, Alpharetta's assistant city administrator, said initially the bond closing was supposed to occur after the charter was finalized.
"Then they made arrangements with the bond purchasers to go ahead and do the bond closing before the charter was finalized," Drinkard said.
That closing was held before the meeting by the Fulton School Board, during which the charter renewal was denied.
"We were quite honestly a little surprised that the bond purchasers would agree to that," Drinkard said.