Speaking of charter schools, I caught part of the DeKalb Board of Education meeting earlier this week where the board rejected applications from Ivy Preparatory Academy to open girls and boys schools in the county.
The review committee deemed the applications incomplete and preliminary and cited several problems, most notably a lack of definite sites or facilities for the new schools. The applicant hoped to open in southwest DeKalb, but had no real specifics, according to the Nicole Knighten, interim director, Governmental Relations/Special Projects for the district.
Ivy Prep operates an all-girl charter school in Gwinnett that now enrolls DeKalb residents. “We need to bring our children home, if we can,” said DeKalb board member Sarah Copelin Wood. “It seems economical and expeditious to being these children home from Gwinnett, if possible.”
In addition, the board delayed action on Peachtree Hope Charter, leading to fears that the 600-student facility on Memorial Drive will not survive the dismissal of the management company Sabis, a worldwide for-profit school management firm operating in 12 countries.
The school’s own board kicked Sabis out on June 3, which also left the school without a curriculum since Sabis provided curriculum along with management. I have talked to some very frustrated parents who wonder if the school can get it together in time to win county approval and open in August.
The board also turned down an application from Media Arts High School, again citing vague plans to open in Avondale Estates but no definite location, Knighten said. The review team also said a plan to use tutors was not fully developed and critical partnerships were not in place.
In a general comment to the audience, interim school chief Ramona Tyson said the district had to ensure that any charter school petitions “meet every standard. We have a responsibility to not allow charter petitions to get through that do not meet state standards.”
Facilities are a major challenge for all new charter schools, although I would think the empty commercial sites throughout DeKalb and the system’s own closed schools would offer plenty of options.
–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog