Thursday, June 18, 2009

Two Charter Schools Authorized by New State Charter Commission

Charter Conservatory for Liberal Arts and Technology and Ivy Preparatory Academy
had originally been denied by their local districts

Two charter schools that originally were denied a charter by their local school districts were authorized by the Georgia Charter Schools Commission Thursday, making them immediately eligible to be funded at the same level as the traditional public schools in their respective districts.

Charter Conservatory for Liberal Arts and Technology (CCAT), a middle and high school in Statesboro (Bulloch County), was granted a two-year charter by the Commission. Ivy Preparatory Academy, a middle school for girls in Norcross (Gwinnett County), was granted a five-year charter. Scholars Academy Charter School, an elementary school in Riverdale (Clayton County), was denied a charter by the Commission.

CCAT and Ivy Prep to be funded at the same level as traditional public schoolsAll three schools have been operating as State Chartered Special Schools, meaning they were originally denied a charter by their local districts but were approved by the State Board of Education. State Chartered Special Schools are not funded at the same level as traditional public schools and charter schools approved by a local district. Scholars Academy will continue to operate as a State Chartered Special School with the option of again seeking Commission approval after one year.

Historic day in Georgia public educationThursday’s vote was the first official action taken by the seven-member Georgia Charter Schools Commission, an alternative authorizing group created by the passage of House Bill 881 during the 2008 Legislative Session. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Jan Jones (R-Milton), the Georgia House Majority Whip. The seven members of the Commission were appointed by the State Board of Education on the recommendation of the Governor (3), Lieutenant Governor (2) and House Speaker (2).

“The Georgia Charter Schools Commission approved its first two schools in its meeting today, an historic event in the state of Georgia,” said Georgia Charter Schools Association Chief Executive Officer Tony Roberts. “We have always said that approval of a charter school by the Commission would be hard – perhaps even more demanding than approval by local school districts. By its actions today, the Commission demonstrated that it has a high standard for approval based on student achievement and our Association supports their commitment to high student achievement."

Added Andrew Broy, Associate Superintendent for Policy, External Affairs and Charter Schools: “The Commission today demonstrated a level of review and deliberation that is consistent with the highest quality authorizing standards. As the Georgia charter school sector continues to grow, we need to ensure that all authorization decisions continue to be made after a thorough and searching review."


CCAT was chartered by the State Board of Education in 2002. It serves 125 students, grades six through 12, who learn in multi-grade, student-centered classrooms. The school utilizes an innovative curriculum that stresses constructivist and multiple intelligence theory.

Ivy Prep was chartered by the State Board of Education in 2008 as the state’s only all-girls charter middle school. The 150 rising seventh graders will be joined in the fall by a new class of 120 sixth graders. An eighth grade class will be added in the fall of 2010.Scholars Academy was chartered by the State Board of Education in 2008. The school stresses hands-on learning experiences for its nearly 100 students in grades one through five.
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