Charter High Prepares to Fight Fulton's School Closure Push
Fulton Science Academy High School's governing board meets Thursday to make its decision on whether they want a hearing before the Fulton County Board of Education.
Fulton Science Academy High School's governing board will decide whether the school will ask for a hearing to fight a push by Fulton County Schools to close the school by terminating its charter contract.
Principal Namik Sercan said the public school's governing board is working on its written response to each allegation raised in the IAG audit. The formal decision to appeal will be made Thurdsay, Dec. 13, he said, while the response will take a few more days to finalize.
Sercan, responding to questions about the audit report's claims that Fulton Science Academy High failed to meet enrollment requirements, said its enrollment has grown for five years out of seven. The two years that showed declining enrollment were when its charter renewal was pending years ago, and last year when Fulton Science Academy Middle School's charter was up for renewal.
"These two years, there was a lot of negative publicity coming from renewal matters, which resulted in low enrollment," Sercan said. "In fact, in spring 2012 we received over 450 applications for 120 slots. As of end of May 2012, almost 400 students were registered at FSA High School. Factors outside our control resulted in many withdrawals."
Liability from a nearly $19 million construction bond that tied the two schools together in debt, along with Fulton Sunshine Charter Academy is close to ending, the principal said.
"The land matter is about to be resolved. With the resolution, FSA High School will be released from all financial liability coming from the bond. We will announce it shortly," Sercan said.
As far as charging for online classes, the principal said, "We have never charged students for online classes."
He said under Fulton County policy, student can take classes from accredited institutes "for the purpose of credit recovery.
"This a very common practice for any students attending any Fulton County schools. Fulton County Schools (FCS) even offers online classes and charges students $250 per .5 credit course," Sercan said.
He referred to the Virtual Campus on the Fulton County Schools web portal. A username and password are required to access this portal.
"It will clearly demonstrate the courses and the cost incured to the students/parents," he said.
Sercan also listed the following options a Fulton Science Academy High student who fails a class has:
- Student can retake it at the school at no cost.
- Student can retake it through Georgia Virtual School at no cost to the student.
- Student can retake it in summer school. Just like any FCS students, our students have to pay for it. They actually make the payment directly to FCS. We are not involved in the money transaction at all.
- Student can retake it through another accredited institute. Just like any FCS students, our students have to pay the cost associated with the course. They directly make the payment to them, not to us. We are not involved in the transaction at all.
Principal Semik said the school has won numerous academic awards. A list is included with this story as a pdf file with the other images.