Rejected Cobb Charter School To Go Private

From the Marietta Daily Journal:

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.

16 comments

        • Bob Loblaw says:

          Grift, I’d imagine the “why” is similar to that of most other charter schools that aren’t approved by a Board of Education not wanting to let go of the control as they release the funds. However, similar to some governors not wanting to expand Medicaid until after the November elections (as if Romney is going to run at newly-insured, kids with coverage and working class that never had coverage with a spear or something) to see if the ballot measure passes.

        • griftdrift says:

          And that is exactly why the “why” is so important. Without it, people tend to insert their own reasoning as to the “why”, usually with their own flavor of confirmation bias.

          It’s just as plausible that the “why” here is the new school didn’t have its financials in order.

          Another example of how the appearance of bias in reporting is created by just being sloppy.

    • Or more accurately, that the proposed school only has $5k in reserves and is not backed by a charter management organization and three other charters in Cobb which were backed by these types of organizations still lost money their first year.

  1. benevolus says:

    More info:

    “Several board members praised the petition, but raised concerns over issues like special education instructors and classroom resources. Ultimately, board members said the decision came down to finances.”

    “The numbers don’t add up. The superintendent and his administrators are saying that it is not a sound financial plan to sustain this school.”

    http://smyrna.patch.com/articles/cobb-boe-denies-smyrna-academy-of-excellence-charter-petition

  2. Jackster says:

    “If it’s approved by the state they’re going to pull the money out of Cobb County anyway,” [David Banks] said. “But SAE would not be accountable to this board at all.”

    And there you have it – Money for Charter schools means less money for the other schools.

    Which is why I think it boils down to “Because we dont’ have to give you $$”…

    • You need to take your blinders off for a second. The majority on the board said this isn’t (right now) a good expense of money.

      This guy (who supports it by the way, and disagrees with the board majority and superintendent) says basically this new law means they’re gonna get it so we may as well have control.

      That is not the same thing as we don’t want to give you the money. Cobb has other charter schools approved by the county.

      Try a little bit harder in your personal political philosophy. Choosing sides shouldn’t mean always being for one thing no matter the other facts. Unfortunately for a lot of people these days it does.

      • Jackster says:

        Well, according to the petitioners, the management company is not an indicator of financial strength. Shouldn’t the school board be managing the school, and not a management company? That makes it seem more like a private school than a charter school to me.

        Additionally, the quote above suggests the real issue is impact to revenue for the county schools – sure, only $5k in the bank is not a compliment to your ability to pay your bills; however, there don’t seem to be any pre-requisites for cash on hand.

        I am merely pointing out that county schools DO NOT HAVE to approve charters schools – it does not factor into capacity planning, the funding mechanism is not there, and unfortunately for the kids and parents, the money does not follow the child.

        To your point, though, if I were trying to get a charter school going, I would have enough for my expenses at least, and then sought out funding.

        • Jackster says:

          Okay, so my asshat factor is pretty high on this one, and I do apologize for not having all my thoughts in order before firing off a response.

          So yeah, I’m used to the Gwinnett Board, which has a deep investment in maintaining the status quo, not innovating, and ensuring political survival.

          This charter school, while in good intentions, should have positioned itself for an uphill battle, much like the ones in gwinnett did. Except the ones in gwinnett seemed to have their ducks in a row.

          I still am of the opinion that any government entity won’t actually do the right thing unless they are made to… most businesses as well, for that matter.

          Thank you for pointing out the context of the quote that I now realize is out of context – after re-reading the article, i can see he was saying they’ll be back again.

  3. Romegaguy says:

    Or maybe a school board member with an interest in another charter school in the area doesnt want competition…

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      Well, we know right away, that’s not possible because things like that never happen among elected officials.

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