Smyrna school planning to open as private school
by Lindsay Field
September 08, 2012 01:08 AM | 4033 views | 1 1 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SMYRNA — Smyrna Academy of Excellence leaders say they have learned they will not get a recommendation to become a state charter school and will instead open as a private school in the fall of 2013.

“We are disappointed that it did not turn out to be a public charter school,” said Jimmy Arispe, the school’s chair of the governing board. “However, you have to work with what you’re given, and we aren’t the ultimate decision-makers. It’s all about providing options for families and kids.”

He said school leaders would be laying out the specifics of the school’s admission process, tuition rates, grade levels and curriculum Monday.

“We have identified some facilities, and now the state can’t dictate where our facilities can be, so it’s a huge opportunity, and we can actually accommodate our demand from our local community,” he said, adding that he could not say what locations they are considering for the school.

SAE parent LeAnn Boucher said school leaders learned over the holiday weekend that the state would be saying “no” to their charter petition.

“We have been told via phone — no written confirmation — that the State Charter Commission will recommend a ‘no’ vote to the state Board of Education,” she said.

Boucher said SAE leaders and supporters talked about opening a private school in south Cobb shortly after the Cobb County school board denied their request for a five-year start-up petition in June.

“It’s something we’ve been working with in parallel, and because of that, we can move quickly to have it open for the 2013-14 school year,” she said.

The state’s decision came just a few days after the school learned they will not be awarded a portion of the third round of Race to the Top funds, in which they could have received nearly $12.9 million from the federal government.

Arispe said that they were No. 10 on the list, but only nine were awarded funds.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow,” he said.

However, the school received approximately $50,000 from the second round of the federal grant.
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September 08, 2012
Congratulations on your opening. There is nothing wrong with a group of parents banding together to create a private school of your choice. In fact, that option exists to everyone. Why create another approval board for charters. Vote No on the amendment this fall.
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