Wednesday, May 16, 2012
The failure of Fulton Science Academy Middle School to get a state charter led to the latest drop to a 'C' rating.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Fitch Ratings again has downgraded the rating on the $18.9 million in bonds for Fulton Science Academy to "CC" from "B," according to BusinessWire. Fulton Science Academy Middle School's failure to get either a charter renewal from Fulton County or a state charter led to the downgrade of the Development Authority of Alpharetta educational facilities revenue bonds. Fitch said in the release that lack of management cooperation left it unable to determine if the middle school's proposed conversion to a private school was feasible, and its possible effects on the Fulton Sunshine Academy and Fulton Science Academy High School. All three schools are obligated for the bonds. Fitch won't be issuing analysis or further ratings because Fulton …
Saturday, May 12, 2012
But the state responds that it had all the information requested from and offered by Fulton Science Academy Middle School.
A day after the state Board of Education refused to grant a charter to Fulton Science Academy Middle School, 100 or more individuals identifying themselves as FSA parents accused state employees and the Board's own charter committee of having "intentionally impeded, stonewalled and misrepresented FSA." Louise Erste, director of the Charter Division at the state Department of Education was singled out. "I believe Erste misinformed and misled the Board down a path that was politically motivated and unfair," was one of the complaints. These claims are similar to what has been said in comments made on articles and a letter to the editor on Alpharetta-Milton Patch. Patch user "Terry" made a related complaint on May 8, after the denial …
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
The Georgia Department of Education said Fulton Science Academy Middle School was strong on academics, but weak on everything else required.
Fulton Science Academy Middle School's state charter application got a recommendation for denial from the GA Department of Education. The school "fails to meet the standard for a high-quality charter school due to governance, financial, and accountability issues and thus does not merit a state chartered special school charter," a summary of the recommendation states. Lou Erste, director of the department's charter schools division, said the school's attorney asked if they could submit a response to this recommendation. What do you think of the state's recommendation? Tell us in the comments below. The state school board will be given the school's charter petition and the department's recommendation for denial at its May 10 meeting. A …
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
If the Senate passes HR 1162 by a super majority, Georgia voters will decide if the state Department of Education gets to create charter schools.
UPDATE, 4:30 P.M.: The House passed HR 1162, a resolution that would send the issue of state charter schools to Georgia voters, overwhelmingly today, 123-48. Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, said the resolution has to pass with a two-thirds majority in the state Senate also. Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers said the resolution will be sent to the Senate Education Committee first. He was asked if he thought the resolution had the necessary support in the Senate. "We certainly hope so. This is a referendum and the voters should have the opportunity to voice their opinion on this very important matter," Rogers said. Albers said Gov. Nathan Deal supports sending the question to state voters, "but it does not require his signature because two-…
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
The middle school still needs a charter to stay open past June, and approval of its building and site plans.
Fulton Science Academy Middle School has gotten approval for the school site its board chose, and has already paid off. "We've approved the site, that's all we've approved," said Lynn Jackson, facilities director for the GA Department of Education. Her staff is reviewing the facility plan. But that's not the only hurdle for FSA. "Everything is also still subject to whether or not the school is approve as a charter going forward then end of its charter term, I think it is in June," she said. School officials are confident, announcing the site approval this afternoon and saying the plan to move into the new building on the 44-acre campus for the 2012-2013 school year. "FSA Middle School has been operating with outstanding academic results in…
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Charter school's executive director responds to accusations about the school's construction process.
UPDATED JAN. 19, 5:30 p.m. Fulton Science Academy followed guidelines provided for charter schools by the state, the school's executive director said today. Ali Ozer said the school submitted a petition with documents asking for a two-year charter to meet state requirements. Superintendent Robert Avossa told the state Department of Education that Fulton County Schools has no interest in a mediation request by Fulton Science Academy after direct negotiations that lasted four months failed. Avossa responded to the mediation offer with his own letter on Jan. 17 to Louis Erste, Charter Schools Division director for the state DOE. Read Avossa's letter to the state Department of Education and a letter from the state to Fulton Science Academy …
Friday, January 13, 2012
Charter Division Director says state can only consider the petition Futon County School Board rejected.
The state Department of Education has told Fulton Science Academy Middle School it has until Jan. 19 to file its request to become a state charter school. The school is at the back of the line, behind approximately 20 other schools seeking charters, renewals or conversions, said Louis Erste, director of the Charter School Division. The deadline was supposed to be Nov. 1 for the state petition, but Fulton County School and the state agreed to several extensions in the Fulton system. It usually takes six months to process and consider the charter request. Erste said state law only lets the Department of Education consider the petition that the local school board denied. In this case, it would be a request that had two sticking points: a 10-…
Friday, December 23, 2011
Legislators from Alpharetta and Roswell promise legislation dealing with charter renewals after Fulton Science Academy Middle School's application was voted down.
Reps. Chuck Martin and Harry Geisinger, plus Sen. John Albers, took part in a press conference at Fulton Science Academy Middle School on Dec. 22, two days after the school's charter renewal was denied. The lawmakers said the Fulton County School Board needs to do the right thing. They proposed legislation that would require school boards to justify why a school's charter renewal shouldn't be automatic if it was meeting its financial and performance requirements. A few hours after the press conference, the school system dismissed the suggestion that the case be revisited immediately, and said the charter school's latest application revision would be heard in the next cycle. That heads the school toward closing next year.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
The legislators say rejecting a revised application for Fulton Science Academy Middle School that meets all of Superintendent Avossa's demands 'is not the right answer.'
The Fulton legislative delegation–including Rep. Jan Jones of Milton and Rep. Chuck Martin of Alpharetta–have asked the Fulton School Board to accept a revised charter renewal application from Fulton Science Academy. "The ramifications of closing this school have far reaching negative effects for all of Georgia," the letter released today stated. The lawmakers say refusing to grant the charter will lead to the closing of Fulton Science Academy High School and Fulton Sunshine Academy, the two schools allied with the middle school in a an $18.5 million bond issue to pay for a new building for all three schools. "We have a legal opinion and confirmation from the State of Georgia that your Board does have the power and authority to accept the …
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
UPDATED: The school may close for at least a year if it can't get a state charter.
Fulton Science Academy Middle School's governing board wants the Fulton Board of Education to reconsider its charter renewal request with revisions. These changes the governing board said it was making as a compromise never made it to the school system in time for the Dec. 20 meeting, during which the charter renewal was denied. Susan Hale, spokesperson for the Fulton County School System, said staff worked more than a year on the charter application with Fulton Science Academy Middle School. The Fulton School Board voted on Dec. 20 on "more than an issue that was two weeks old," she said. "It's main consideration was the fact that we could not reach an agreement with the length of the charter," Hale said. The superintendent's office …