Cherokee Charter Will Open in Fall
The school didn't have the $2.9 million in local funding it would have received as a district-approved or state-commissioned charter school. The state announced today it would fill the gap.
Updated: 5:17 p.m. Thursday
Cherokee Charter Academy will open this fall, charter organizer Lyn Michaels-Carden just told Patch. Open the PDF on this page for details.
Original post: 1:37 p.m. Thursday
Amidst growing concern over the status of Cherokee Charter Academy, officials announced that the state would close the $2.9 million funding gap that organizers of the school were scrambling to fill.
"The State will forward fund the bricks-and-mortar state-chartered special schools for an amount equal to the average local share they would have received if they were locally approved," Louis J. Erste, director of the Georgia Department of Education's charter schools division, wrote in an email to Canton-Sixes Patch. "This will bring each brick-and-mortar state-chartered special school's revenues to the same amount they would have received as a locally-approved charter school serving the students in their approved attendance zone."
With just 18 days to go before the start of the new school year, parents were growing antsy over the lack of information and movement at the county's first charter school.
Organizers said communication slowed, in part, because they were trying to nail down funding for Cherokee Charter Academy.
The school didn't have $2.9 million in local funding it would have received as a district-approved or state-commissioned charter school. State-chartered special schools, the designation the state BOE gave to Cherokee Charter Academy and eight other former state-commissioned charter schools, aren't eligible for it. They had to find alternate funding sources.
"It is my understanding that the Governor's office has been working on a public-private partnership with corporate, individual, and foundation charter school supporters to raise these extra funds," Erste wrote in the email to Patch. "We are still working on the exact amounts this would yield for each SCSS (state-chartered special school), but it will be more than the schools would have received from QBE-only (Quality Basic Education Act, the law that determines the level of state funding for school districts in Georgia) funding."
Erste's announcement came as parents were beginning to pursue other educational options for the 995 students accepted during a May lottery.
It's not clear if the county's first charter school will open Aug. 1 as planned.
In an interview with Canton-Sixes Patch on Tuesday evening, charter organizer Lyn Michaels-Carden said the school was "in the process" of hiring teachers.
"We have not hired our entire complement," she said.
Reached after today's announcement, Michaels-Carden said, "We are evaluating the August 1 start date and will be making an announcement soon."
CHARTERS GET FUNDING
Funding will help the following eight schools:
1. Atlanta Heights Charter School (Atlanta Public Schools)
2. Charter Conservatory for Liberal Arts and Technology (Bulloch County)
3. Cherokee Charter Academy (Cherokee County)
4. Coweta Charter Academy (Coweta County)
5. Fulton Leadership Academy (Fulton County)
6. Heritage Preparatory Academy (Atlanta Public Schools)
7. Pataula Charter Academy (Baker, Clay, Calhoun, Early Randolph Counties)
8. Odyssey School (bricks and mortar only)
This will not affect the following eight former commission schools:
9. Georgia Connections Academy (Statewide)
10. Provost Academy (Statewide)
11. Odyssey School's Georgia Cyber Academy (Statewide)
Locally-approved charter schools:
12. Ivy Preparatory Academy (Gwinnett and DeKalb Counties)
13. The Museum School of Avondale Estates (DeKalb County)
Schools that do not yet have new charters:
14. Peachtree Hope Charter School (DeKalb County)
15. Chattahoochee Hills Charter Schools (Carroll, Coweta, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton Counties)
16. Heron Bay Academy (Griffin-Spalding and Henry Counties)