After their charter petition was turned down by the Cobb County school board, Smyrna Academy of Excellence supporters plan to open a private school in south Cobb.
“We will not allow any political body to dictate our future to us,” said Jimmy Arispe, the school’s governing board chairman. “We really appreciate the votes and support that we did get from some of the board members. However, we will absolutely continue to move forward, regardless of what direction is it.”
In a 3-4 vote Thursday night, the school board voted down a five-year start-up charter petition for the school, which was tentatively planned to be located along the East-West Connector in south Cobb.
“Our governing board had a contingency plan in place if we did not get our petition approved,” Arispe said. “We’d like to open an affordable, private school that meets the needs of the members of south Cobb.”
The area targeted for the charter school is an example of where the “haves” meet the “have nots” in Cobb. Many of the “haves” send their children to Whitfield Academy or Eastside Elementary private schools, leaving the public schools dominated by those from homes on lower income scales.
A charter school looks like it would have been a solution to get more of the children from different economic backgrounds into one classroom. Instead, it appears that there will be yet another private school in the area, with children of less means stuck in mediocre schools with few alternatives.