My question is, if you are educating less students, then why do you need those funds? In Fulton County's case, they are educating 500 less children than they would be if those students were put back into the public classroom. At a 14 to 1 student ratio (Fulton Counties published ratio), it will cause the public schools to hire an additional 36 teachers. The average teacher in Fulton County makes $48,300 (not including benefits such as retirement and health care). Adding 36 teachers to the school system would cost an additional $1.78 Million per year in salary cost alone.
Fulton County School System's Superintendent wanted to limit the charter to a mere 3 years, that is 2 years less than what the State and Federal Government recommend for a Charters contract period. The Charter School wanted an extension of 10 years. The School Board also claimed that the FSA gave a no bid contract in the amount of $156,000 to a non-profit for the maintanence of technology at the school and that it was a conflict of interest because the school's executive director and principal served on the board of the Grace Institute for Educational Research and Resource - the company that is providing the technology maintenance to the school.
It seems that the Coweta County School Board is not the only school board in the state that is scared of competition for public funds and better education.
Coweta County regularly gives no bid contracts to a local septic pumping company that cost the school system tens of thousands of dollars per year - but they do so in small increments to keep the cost under the $10,000 limit placed on no bid contracts. Under Fulton County's reasoning, Coweta County's School System should not receive public funds either.
TEA Party groups around the state and around the country need to work together to replace the current school board members with Charter friendly board members. Our children deserve a better education than they are currently receiving and Charter Schools provide the ability for parents to have a choice as to where to send their children. It is our income, property and sales taxes that go into the funding of the schools. We deserve to decide where we want that money to go.
From D. Aileen Dodd of the AJC (click to read on AJC.com):
The Fulton County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to deny the contract extension of a nationally acclaimed Alpharetta charter school, a move that could close the school this summer.
The vote on Fulton Science Academy Middle School was made at the school board's monthly business meeting before a standing-room only audience of more than 230 students, parents and community members, most in support of the school, though there were some opposed. An overflow crowd of 40 others watched through the glass of Dunwoody Springs Elementary.
They left abruptly after the 7-0 vote to deny the school's contract to continue.
"We are not going to stop," said parent Lauri Crowe Kowalski of the fight to keep the school open. "This is a big bump in the road though."
Fulton Science, a school of more than 500, appealed to the district for a 10-year contract renewal touting its academic record. It was recently named a national Blue Ribbon School of Excellence for its standardized test achievement. Fulton Superintendent Robert Avossa, however, asked the school to accept a three-year contract instead so the district could monitor its use of taxpayer money.
Fulton Science entered into a more than $18 million loan agreement to build a shared campus with Fulton Sunshine Academy and Fulton Science Academy High School, its sister schools. The schools sought revenue bonds through the City of Alpharetta Development Authority. As a result, Fulton Schools staff recommended that the schools be placed on the same contract schedule so the district could have more oversight of their mutual financial obligation.
Fulton Science governing board members did not accept his offer. School officials said they needed the 10 year contract because it would help attract students and teachers to the school and also help with business operations.
"This is something I cannot support at this time," Avossa told the board before the vote on the 10-year contract application. "Our school system has an obligation to its taxpayers to be fiscally accountable and good stewards of its money."
While the school was going through the application process, Fulton staff investigated its finances and found problems. The charter campus paid $156,000 to a nonprofit without first putting the contract out for bid. The school's executive director and principal served on the board of the Grace Institute for Educational Research and Resources, which contracts with schools to provide technical support, professional development and purchasing services.District officials said it created a conflict of interest.
Fulton administrators advised the school to follow the procurement process and resolve its conflict of interest. FSA's principal and the executive director resigned from the board of Grace and said they had not been paid for their work.
The school's Fulton charter contract expires on June 30. It can apply to the the state Board of Education to become a state charter school, which will cause it to lose local funding for the education of students from Fulton County -- about half of its allocations.
If the state does not offer the school a charter contract, its students would have to return to 16 neighborhood middle schools, with some schools getting as few as one and others up to 100.
FSA parent Doug Lucas said the school should be praised for its excellence and allowed to continue. "I am very disappointed in the public school system."