Deal’s pledge will help Cherokee Charter
by Brandon Wilson
bwilson@cherokeetribune.com
July 15, 2011 12:00 AM | 5675 views | 9 9 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — Cherokee Charter Academy’s funding woes were quickly subdued Thursday after hearing Gov. Nathan Deal’s pledge to hand out $10 million in bridge funding to Georgia charter schools that were affected by a state Supreme Court ruling in May.

Deal’s pledge came as the local charter academy was scrambling to round up $2.9 million in additional funds to open its inaugural class as planned in August.

Lyn Carden, a board member of the Georgia Charter Education Foundation, Cherokee Charter Academy’s nonprofit governing entity, was in high spirits Thursday night when reached by phone. She said school officials have not been told how much of the pledge money the academy will receive, but she said it is its understanding the state will provide all money needed to bridge the funding gap created when the Cherokee County Board of Education denied the academy’s resubmitted charter application last month.

In a press release issued earlier in the day, Carden stated, “Through the collaborative efforts of Governor Deal’s office, Chip Rogers’ office and the office of State Superintendent, John (Barge), we should now able to offer education choice to students in Cherokee and Coweta. We couldn’t be happier to announce this wonderful news.”

The Georgia Charter Education Foundation also governs Coweta Charter Academy, which has been open for a year.

Those and 14 other charter schools across the state that were granted charters by the Georgia Charter Commission took a hard hit in May, when the Supreme Court deemed the 2008 state law that created the commission unconstitutional. The commission had granted charters to numerous schools denied by local boards of education and gave those schools both state and federal funding as well local revenues.

Cherokee Charter Academy had already held a lottery to accept 995 students for its inaugural class. The academy, as well as the other charter schools rocked by the High Court decision, hurried back to local school boards to seek approval and open on time with adequate funding. The Cherokee County Board of Education, which had denied the charter academy twice in the last two year, again rejected the charter petition in a nail-biting 4-3 vote in June in front of a split crowd of roughly 1,000.

The academy was shortly after approved as a state-chartered special school, but that only allowed the academy to collect state and federal funding. Without local property tax revenues, the academy’s proposed $7.2 million budget had a $2.9 million gap.

When asked earlier this week about the steps the academy is doing to fill that funding gap, Carden told the Tribune the school had “promising things” in the works, but did not elaborate.

Erin Hames with the governor’s office told the Associated Press Thursday that the $10 million pledge would go to seven schools in danger of closing because they couldn’t make their budgets following the Supreme Court ruling and subsequent local school board denials.

“They had already offered teacher contracts and built-in expenses they can’t get out of at this point,” Hames told the AP.

State Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) praised Deal for deciding to fund these schools.

“Governor Deal and Superintendent Barge have again shown great leadership on education,” he said in a statement. “The dedication, evidenced by giving thousands of Georgia students additional opportunities, will change lives in a very positive way.”

According the Georgia Charter Education Foundation, parents of kids accepted to Cherokee Charter are to complete and mail in registration packets, and check the school’s website, www.cherokeecharter.org, for updates.

Thursday’s action by the governor might leave the Cherokee School District impacted too. Losing students to a new school could equate to further reductions in state funding.

There was no official response released by the school system Thursday; however, school spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby earlier stated in an email on behalf of Superintendent Frank Petruzielo, “If all 995 students are current school district students, or kindergartners previously expected to enroll, the state funding decrease could be as much as $3.7 million for [the next fiscal year].”

The school system is already facing $26.6 million in state austerity cuts and a $9 million reduction in property tax collections.

Comments
(9)
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cherokee parent
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July 19, 2011
Do you understand what a normed test is?
CrappySchools
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July 18, 2011
What crappy government schools? All of them are crap. Do the math on your kids CRCT results. My child got an exceeds in science. I did the math, he got a 72%. The subjects he got meets standards on, all 60's. That's pathetic. The money should follow the child, not the child follow the money.
cherokee parent
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July 17, 2011
What crappy government schools? Not in Cherokee County. I can't wait to see the test results from this 21st century segregation academy and compare them to the rest of the county schools. Thanks Chip for supporting your constituents.
TedinWoodstock
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July 15, 2011
Deal and Rogers have chosen to take additional funding away from my children who attend public school..and a thorough review by Dr. P. indicates that the charter school results (based upon their success [actually lack of] in achieving adequate yearly progress in their homes state of Fl) are far below Cherokee County School results. Very disappointed in my elected officials this time around (what's new, huh?).
Perspicacious
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February 15, 2012
No they did not. The money given to all the charter schools in GA was a grant from the federal government specifically revived to fund the charter schools. All the money CCSD gets is still comeing from the property tax payers plus those who send their kids to private school and currently the Cherokee charter school. So the CCSD district has less students in some schools but is still having a budget problem? Sounds like an audit of CCSD needs to be fulfilled to see where the bleed is.
bitter, bitter
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July 15, 2011
The word "crappy" sure makes your point clearer. You don't sound bitter, at all . . .
EdTruth
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July 15, 2011
Cherokee School District says:

“If all 995 students are current school district students, or kindergartners previously expected to enroll, the state funding decrease could be as much as $3.7 million for [the next fiscal year].”

They know that ALL students aren't current school district students. Also, what they don't say in their statement are two things that will help Cherokee County School district: One, they will have lower expenses for not having to educate the students that choose to attend the Charter School. Two, the Cherokee School District will be able to keep ALL of the local funds for education, which should result in more funding per student. However, the Cherokee School district wants to continue to make up numbers because their Superintendent is adamantly against allowing students and parents public school choice.
Dontusemytaxes
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July 15, 2011
To all the "don't use my taxes for a private school" crowd....Don't use my taxes for your crappy government school.
whats the big deal?
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August 24, 2012
So what is the big deal with having a charter school and people choodisng to go there or not? From what I know is that it is a choice to go to the school, right? The local school system still gets the local tax dollars for the students that go to the charter school, correct? So the local schols have less students to serve and more money to do it with. Is this correct or am I wrong here? So if the school is doing well and state of GA says that they are doing everything right, then what is the problem? I am just really confused about why there is such a big problem with having Charter schools. Another big issue that I keep hearing is that the money is the school systems money. In fact as a tax payer I can tell you that the money is in fact not the school systems money but that it is our (taxpayer) money, which in turn means that it is the childs money.. Not the schools money.
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