Weekly Charter News Roundup: Oct. 16 – Oct. 27

Amana Academy, in Fulton County, was featured in the Atlanta Business Chronicle. The charter school is the first in the world to become a Kano computing academy. The purpose of Kano is to provide an introduction to computer programming languages for children.

  • According to Reporter Newspapers, Georgia Chamber of Commerce President Chris Clark believes a proposed constitutional amendment that would let Georgia cities to create their own school system is unnecessary. Instead, Clark says the Georgia Chamber supports charter schools and cities should explore those options first. Clark made the comments to members of the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber.

  • The Georgia Supreme Court decided not to review a lower court decision involving the Fair Dismissal Act. The Georgia Court of Appeals ruled the Fair Dismissal Act does not apply to Floyd County Schools, because the school district is a charter system.

  • State officials say Macon Charter Academy, which was recently put on probation by the Georgia Board of Education, is making progress but has a ways to go.

    In the meantime, the governing board for Macon Charter Academy recently voted to sever ties with school founders.

  • DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Dr. Stephen Green says the the DeKalb County School District could explore other operating models besides a charter system.

  • Several reports released jointly this week say nationally students enrolled in virtual charter schools have shown weaker gains in reading and math than those who attend similar brick and mortar schools. However, virtual students in Georgia and Wisconsin outperformed their brick and mortar peers in reading

  • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported alleged financial mismanagement of more than $600,000 at Latin Charter Academy. The newspaper cites a police report that says former school leader Chris Clemons is currently the sole suspect.

    The Georgia Charter Schools Association has released a statement in response to the alleged mismanagement.

    School officials say they discovered the “questionable activity” while it was in the process of transitioning leadership from the previous fiscal year. The school’s governing board immediately reported the activity to the appropriate authorities and launched a forensic audit.

  • A DeKalb County parent wrote a Huffington Post essay about why white parents won’t send their children to black schools. In the essay, she said she believed her neighbors wanted to start a charter school so they could avoid sending their children to a school where the majority of students were African American. Maureen Downey spoke about the essay in her Get Schooled blog in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

  • Downey later featured a response from a DeKalb County parent who sent his daughter to a neighborhood elementary school with a high African American population for Pre-K. Later, the parent decided to send his daughter to a charter school.

Weekly Charter News Roundup: October 2 – October 10

A metro Atlanta charter school will receive a large grant from a state agency.

The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement has selected Drew Charter School as a recipient of a $700,000 “Fiscal Year 2016 Innovation Fund Grant Award.”

  • Several school districts throughout Georgia are deciding whether or not to become a charter system.

    The DeKalb County Board of Education held two hearings as it considers whether to submit a charter system petition to the Georgia Board of Education.

    The Dougherty County School System also conducted several hearings on the potential move to a charter system. 

  • In the meantime, the Morgan County School System is working to renew its charter system status with the state. 

  • Ivy Preparatory Academy will stop offering high school classes at its three campuses. 

    A longtime Ivy Preparatory supporter wrote an opinion piece in the Atlanta Journal Constitution in opposition to the decision.

    Ivy Prep and the Georgia Charter Schools Association weighed in on the changes.

  • After being placed on immediate probation by the state, Macon Charter Academy has submitted a corrective plan of action to the Georgia Board of Education.

    The Telegraph says the school’s fate could be decided as early as this week.

  • KIPP STRIVE Primary School gets a new playground.

  • Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools is considering a bus plan that would provide up to 10 bus stops for charter school students.

  •  Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen says the district could bring in charter school operators for several underperforming schools. If voters approve Gov. Deal’s Opportunity School District plan next year, the schools are at risk of being placed in a statewide school district that seeks to turnaround struggling schools.

Weekly Charter News Roundup: September 24 – October 1, 2015

In positive charter news this week, KIPP STRIVE Academy in Atlanta has been named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. The school is one of only nine in Georgia to receive the honor.

  • Utopian Academy for the Arts recently sent the city of Riverdale a cease and desist letter. According to the school, city officials threatened to shut down the school’s cafeteria because it was operating without a city business license. School officials say if “bullying” by the city of Riverdale continues, Utopian will sue the city for intentionally interfering with school operations.

  • The Atlanta Public School District has been approved as a charter system. The new status will start during the 2016-2017 school year.
  • In the meantime, the DeKalb County Board of Education plans to hold hearings on whether to submit an application to the Georgia Department of Education to formally seek charter system status. Earlier this year, the school district sent the state a letter of intent to become a charter system.

  • The meeting on the district’s charter system status comes just after the DeKalb County Board of Education passed a new charter policy. The Georgia Charter Schools Association has raised concerns about the policy in an open letter to DeKalb’s Board of Education, DeKalb School Superintendent Dr. Stephen Green and Board of Education Chairman Dr. Melvin Johnson.

  • An education reform commission established by Gov. Nathan Deal is looking at ways to change Georgia’s school funding formula. The discussions have included how to fund charter school facilities and whether property owned or leased for a charter school should be exempt from taxes.

  • Georgia did not receive a federal planning, program design and implementation grant. That means new charter schools interested in the grant must apply directly to the U.S. Department of Education. The grant helps charter school developers plan, design and complete the initial implementation of their schools.

  • A new national article by The Atlantic says data suggests charter schools are more popular in cities than in suburbs.

  • The University of Georgia says its partnership with Foothills Education Charter High School has been beneficial to at-risk teens. The school has several locations, including one in Athens, Georgia.

  • The Kindezi Schools recently opened a new charter school in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward.