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.
Cherokee County Board of Education