“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.”
Arispe said he will spend this weekend meeting with his 12-member governing board and will conduct a meeting at Taylor Brawner Park on Atlanta Road in Smyrna at 6 p.m. Monday to learn what the schools next steps will be.
“Some new information has come to light today, and we are again exploring all options,” he said. “I can’t unfortunately explain the new information … I would be burning many bridges if I did that.”
Jill Meiser, a resident of Smyrna for the last 10 years, has been working for the last year to get the school open.
“Like everyone, I was supremely disappointed (with the board’s decision), but I’m really excited about turning this into an affordable private school,” she said.
She and her husband enrolled their daughters in a private school after they struggled in public schools in south Cobb. Their family is zoned for Teasley Elementary and Campbell Middle.
“It’s testament to how strongly I believe in the model that I’m willing to move from a private setting back to what would have been a pseudo-public setting,” she said. “It’s a shame that they have taken that option away from the community.”
She said that despite the school board’s rejection, she will support the school financially.
“I pledge to go above and beyond what I’m already paying,” she said.