Peachtree Hope Charter: Matter of hours left for it to get back on DeKalb agenda

If I were a parent considering Peachtree Hope Charter School, I would be asking the board of directors why they chose to terminate the management contract with Sabis, which provides the management and curriculum for the Memorial Drive charter school.

Essentially, the decision means that the DeKalb school has to start from scratch in its academic blueprint, and there are real questions today whether it can recreate itself in time to reopen in August.  The school’s board of directors plans to meet with parents later this week to explain why they dumped Sabis and how the school plans to move forward.

But Peachtree Hope Charter School only has a few hours left today to submit an application to DeKalb County.

(Note: DeKalb sent me this note at 6 Monday evening: “No word on Peachtree Hope today. We’re waiting until the a.m. to give them some more time.”  But then, the AJC reporter writing the news story on the school’s plight sent me this note: Peachtree Hope filed a new application with DeKalb Schools late Monday, said Richard Andre, an attorney representing the school, which is expecting 700 students in the fall. The application is expected to be voted on in July at the local board meeting.)

Peachtree Hope was among 16 charter schools statewide stranded by a Georgia Supreme Court ruling in May invalidating the Georgia Charter Schools Commission and the schools it had approved. The schools scrambled to find local sponsorship and funding through boards of education, and Peachtree Hope was one of the lucky ones.

On June 13, the DeKalb Board of Education granted it a year waiver to remain open and funded while it worked on its application for a five-year county charter. But the DeKalb school board did so under the assumption that Sabis, a worldwide for-profit school management firm operating in 12 countries, was still in charge.

But Sabis told me today that it was notified that it was being kicked out of the school on  June 3.  The company provided a copy of the termination notice that was sent to them from the Lightmas & Delk law firm and it was dated June 3.  A company official also told me that Sabis was surprised and disappointed at the termination. The official had been in Atlanta that week working with the board of directors to submit its charter application to DeKalb.

I have a call into Lonnie King, chairman of the Peachtree Hope board of directors., about the time line.  I have not heard back from him but will add his comments.

(Peachtree Hope seems to have had a successful inaugural year under Sabis; 95 percent of the students were returning and a new grade was being added. As of now, the school expects to enroll 678 children in grades k-6 in August. But we haven’t seen CRCT scores yet for the school in its first year.)

A few hours after seeking and winning its one-year extension from the DeKalb school board on June 13, Peachtree Hope notified DeKalb that it was no longer affiliated with Sabis, according to DeKalb spokesman Walter Woods.

“They alerted us the morning after the charter was approved. That changed the entire notion of the charter, and they are going to have to resubmit,” said Woods today. “And the deadline for them to do so is today. If they give us something today, we will review that and put it in front of the board on July 11. ”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

14 comments Add your comment

Dr. John Trotter

June 27th, 2011
1:56 pm

We’re spending a lot of time on the Charter Schools, aren’t we? Ha! They represent such a miniscule element of the public school population. How do they merit so much attention on this blog? Four or five articles in the last four or five days? Hmm.

Maureen Downey

June 27th, 2011
1:58 pm

@Dr. Trotter, Can’t resist breaking news stories.


June 27th, 2011
2:52 pm

Parents who care, whether they are right or wrong about the merits of their charter schools. If you could capture the caring and apply it directly to educational outcomes, the children would have such an advantage. And maybe that’s it–through charters, parents see a channel for their caring to have a more direct impact on outcomes for their children, or a way to avoid dilution by the not-caring of too many other parents.


June 27th, 2011
7:12 pm

“And maybe that’s it–through charters, parents see a channel for their caring to have a more direct impact on outcomes for their children, or a way to avoid dilution by the not-caring of too many other parents.” Very astute, Roach.


June 27th, 2011
7:28 pm

I have not met many parents at my childs traditional public school that do not care.


June 27th, 2011
8:29 pm

I have been helping children who get caught up in the disciplinary cycle in Gwinnett for close to 10 years – I too have yet to meet a parent who does not care.


June 27th, 2011
10:53 pm

It’s hard to believe that we could have such disastrous failure, as we have in some of our local systems, if they are all full of children whose parents care. .How would caring parents stand for it? Yet, in even the worst performing districts, where the public schools area a practical joke played on our children, the voters repeatedly elect gangs of idiots and the ethically compromised to their school boards. But all the parents care? Hard to believe.

Young Lady

June 28th, 2011
9:08 am

You’re equating caring to being an activist for your child. My parents cared about my education but they were not actively involved in it. Do I believe they cared? Yes but they weren’t the type to take the time to go to PTA meetings or be actively involved as many parents now are. We were poor and thus not mobile. Caring involved making sure I went to school, did my homework, that I was prepared to go to school, and not get in trouble. Now many people find that to be lacking but it is showing they cared about what I was doing.

It’s not hard to believe that parents care about their children’s education. But caring and pushing themselves out of their comfort zone to do something about it are two wholly different things.


June 28th, 2011
9:34 am

Dr. Trotter, Can’t resist breaking news stories.

Along the “breaking news stories” Watched WSB last evening and appears its getting deep for Bev. I will let you break the story for us, Maureen.

Maureen Downey

June 28th, 2011
9:52 am

@Dr. No, The AJC says the Bowers/Wilson/GBI report is coming next week. We will certainly discuss.

Dunwoody Mom

June 28th, 2011
12:25 pm

I saw the same piece, Dr. No. If Richard Belcher’s reporting is accurate (and who knows?) this report could be dynamite against Beverly Hall.


June 28th, 2011
12:47 pm

@Decatur mom

You don’t meet the uncaring parents. That’s the problem. They don’t show up. I’m not overly in favor of charters, but that’s a different discussion from the general apathy, it seems, of the majority of public school parents. It seems to me that the majority of parents are NOT overly involved with their children’s education until something goes catywampus. As a parent and an educator, all I can say is that the time to get involved in your child’s education is long before something goes wrong.

Dekalb taxpayer

June 28th, 2011
1:21 pm

Sometimes parents care, but in a way that is destructive for their children rather than helpful. In my children’s high school a few years back, a teacher tried to remove a sleeping “student” from his classroom. The parent raised cain (her son was being “disrespected”), the now-indicted superintendent backed the parent, and the teacher left at the end of the year for another county. All of the children lost, including the dozing one. I don’t know for sure but I wouldn’t be surprised if that parent never showed for open houses and teacher conferences.

Teacher/Parent who supports good schools

June 28th, 2011
10:29 pm

This is going to be interesting. This school will have a lot to explain to the community if they are to make the case to parents that they are still a better choice than the public school. Yes there are some terrible public schools. But as someone who has taught in both public schools and a charter school, I have to say that some charter schools have a long way to go before they can criticize the public schools. Many charter schools are hiring unqualified teachers and administrators and wonder why kids are failing. High teacher turnover is also prevalent in many charter schools, leaving the kids to suffer. This thing called teaching is a profession. The charter school movement needs to take a page from the KIPP schools book and start paying teachers respectable wages, implementing research based practices and just using plain common sense. I am a parent who cares and a parent who advocates. That is why my children attend public school.