Board member joins debate
September 23, 2012 12:42 AM | 1473 views | 9 9 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEAR EDITOR:

I am writing in response to a letter to the editor submitted by John Konop entitled ‘Charter questions need answers’.

Konop states I seem confused about ‘so much negative feedback about the lack of fiscal controls in the charter amendment’ that I support.

While I am no stranger to negative feedback, I will say that it is not entirely clear to me how inaccurate and unsubstantiated claims about a school that is, for now, authorized under existing state law supports, in any way, his contention that the proposed amendment is somehow lacking fiscal controls.

For instance, Konop claims that ‘CCA’s owner/operators receive a management contract that pays them close to $1 million … above and beyond the additional regular operating money charter schools receive from the school district.’

It should be noted all charter schools receive their funding from the state department of education, not the school district. More importantly, NO funding that CCA receives could ever be described as ‘above and beyond’ funding received by a traditional Georgia school district.

When every dollar received and spent by the charter school for the 2011/2012 school year is factored in, the total funding per student is approximately $6,000. That is $3,500 less than the $9,500 per student funding for the same year in the Cherokee County School District.

Konop said it ‘looks increasingly likely’ that CCA will go out of business mid-year.

Can he provide any evidence to support this claim? The facts as I know them would seem to indicate the opposite.

CCA holds a two-year charter authorized by the Georgia Board of Education, first-year test scores on par with CCSD, a growing enrollment, state funding budgeted for the full school year, and a contract with a SACS-accredited management company that manages 48 schools serving 40,000 students.

This hardly appears to be a recipe for impending failure.

The Cherokee County School Board denied a charter to the local founders of CCA on four occasions. In doing so we relinquished any oversight responsibility.

My role at CCA is limited to that of a parent.

If Konop truly wants answers, instead of bringing his concerns to the school district, he should reach out to the Georgia Department of Education, the CCA local governing council, and the Georgia Charter Educational Foundation to better understand how exactly taxpayer funds are handled, what fiscal controls are in place, and whether there is, in fact, any exposure to the taxpayers.

Michael Geist

Cherokee County Board of Education

District 3

Hickory Flat

Comments
(9)
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Not Mike Chapman
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September 24, 2012
Why did outgoing loser board chair Mike Chapman allow the uninformed liberal Konop to address board member Geist directly? This is a complete breach of board-meeting protocol. Chapman knew this. Our wellfed super Petruzielo knew this. Both allowed it to happen because both hate charter school children and their parents.

Why bother having board meeting rules if the chairman will willingly ignore them? Why bother having a chair position at all?

Thank God that loser Chapman's headed for the exit soon. He is a disgrace as both a chairman and a human being. Hopefully, our fat overpaid superintendent will soon follow.

Mike Chapman Rocks
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September 26, 2012
You might have better credibility with your point if you didn't stoop to childish insults and name calling on the level of a playground bully. . And to allege anyone "hates" charter school children and their parents is ridiculous, unfounded and unsubstantiated, serving only to inflame. Mike Chapman has done more in service to the Cherokee community than you have ever thought about- Decades of service through Rotary, United Way, Chamber of Commerce, founding the Cherokee Learning Center and more. If you want to be a leader in public discourse, you really need to change your methodology- oh, and look in the mirror.
Not Really
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September 26, 2012
How is Mike Chapman a loser? He didn't lose anything-- he was drawn out of his district by a cowardly legislative delegation who knew they couldn't win against him. His last opponent, none other than two-time loser Danny Dukes, couldn't even get 40% of the vote against Chapman. And I believe Mr. Konop expressed a concern to the entire board, referencing a conversation he had with Mr. Geist.
Still not Chappie
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September 26, 2012
Defend the man all you like - he's been a terrible, bitter, divisive school board chairman and this incident proves his disgust for pro-charter parents and children.

When one discusses Chapman, stooping to childish insults is fitting. This is Mr. "If you don't like it, you can move!" Mike Chapman we're talking about - King of the Playground Bullies.

His imminent departure is good riddance to bad rubbish. The man is clearly incapable of being an impartial board chairman. I look forward to Janet Read's tenure as chairwoman - she won't stoop to such nonsense as ignoring board-meeting rules and protocol to advance an anti-charter agenda.

I'll leave you with a Chapman'ism: If you don't like this comment, you can just not read it!
Joe Rural
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September 26, 2012
What about the Cherokee Charter and their protocol for actually announcing their meetings and having an agenda available?

In case you don't follow the news, Mr. Chapman won every time he ran for office, so how does that make him a "loser"?

If you attended any of the meetings you might realize that Mr. Chapman has never said he is against charter schools. I would suggest you get the facts right BEFORE you start typing your comments.
ByeByeChapman
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September 27, 2012
It's interesting that noone can answer why Board Chairman Chapman purposely allowed an intentional breech of board-meeting protocol by letting the grossly-misinformed liberal charter-hater Konop directly question a board member. His agenda is obvious, as is his lame-duck status.

Janet Read cannot begin her term quickly enough!
Joe Rural
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September 23, 2012
Where does Mr. Geist get his $9500 cost per student from? Is he speaking as a board member when quoting that number, or just as a parent? If the Cherokee Charter did so well with the funding they received why did their parent company have to "bail them" out?
Michael Geist
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October 09, 2012
That figure came from the district budget for 2011/12. Total budgeted revenues were $376,065,378. Total budgeted enrollment was 39,337 students. Divide the first number by the second. Actual was a little different from budgeted but the district generally makes comparisons from budgeted figures.

I understand that many in our community have taken sides based on the few pieces of information that they have heard. If a position sounds outrageous & unreasonable than it is easy to believe that the person holding it is an awful person, bent on hurting others for their own gain. No matter which side you are on, please take the time to verify what you have heard and understand whether you are getting the whole picture.

I believe than Mr. Konop means well but it appears that he is drawing conclusions from incomplete or inaccurate information.

There is a reason that two-thirds bipartisan majority of the state legislature including EVERY member that represents Cherokee supported this amendment over the objections of the most powerful lobbies in the state. This is truly an opportunity to improve education for children in ALL public schools.
Teacher's Pet
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September 23, 2012
"While I am no stranger to negative feedback, I will say that it is not entirely clear to me how inaccurate and unsubstantiated claims about a school that is, for now, authorized under existing state law supports, in any way, his contention that the proposed amendment is somehow lacking fiscal controls. "

Teacher would call this a "run-on" sentence.
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