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Gainesville schools one step closer to charter status

Committee recommends that city's petition be approved

POSTED: June 20, 2008 5:01 a.m.
A state committee set up to review applications of charter school systems has voted to recommend that the remaining petitions for charter system status, including one from the Gainesville City Schools, be approved by the State Board of Education.

The Charter Advisory Committee made its recommendation on Friday, and it was announced Monday. In addition to Gainesville, the systems seeking charter status are the city systems in Decatur and Marietta, as well as Chattahoochee County schools.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, R-Chestnut Mountain, was the architect of the charter systems legislation and on Monday called on the state school board to take action.

"The Charter Advisory Committee is composed of well-respected and experienced members of the education community," Cagle said Monday. "Their support and reinforced recommendation sends a strong message to the validity and strength of each of these charters. The enormous amount of time each member of the committee took to not only visit each system, but personally meet with the school system leadership, demonstrates their clear understanding of each system and belief that they are prepared to undertake the charter system status."

The state Board of Education is scheduled to meet Wednesday and Thursday in Atlanta.

The panel also is set to consider the Hall County school system’s first application for a charter school, World Languages Academy, which is opening in the fall.

The school will be located in the former Chestnut Mountain Elementary School, which is moving to a new 900-student building off Union Church Road.

In May, the board approved Warren County as the first charter system, but declined to act on the remaining applications.

"The Charter Systems Act provides school systems the opportunity to increase student achievement by giving them more freedoms and flexibility to be innovative and gives parents and teachers the opportunity to have meaningful participation in the governance of their schools," Cagle said, adding that he believes the board of education will "do the right thing and give these systems charter status."



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