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Charter Schools Given More Time

Despite staff recommendations to reject two charter school petitions, the Cobb County Board of Education gives each group a 30-day extension.

The Cobb County Board of Education has granted the proposed Turning Point Charter Leadership Academy School of Excellence and STEAM Academy of Cobb an additional 30 days to address the problems that led the administration to recommend rejecting their petitions.

Turning Point received an extension on a 6-1 board vote Thursday night.

Chairwoman Alison Bartlett of Post 7 south and west of Marietta, Vice Chairman Scott Sweeney of East Cobb’s Post 6, Kathleen Angelucci of North Cobb’s Post 4, David Banks of East and Northeast Cobb’s Post 5, Tim Stultz of Smyrna’s Post 2 and David Morgan of South Cobb’s Post 3 voted yes. Lynnda Crowder-Eagle of West Cobb’s Post 1 voted no.

STEAM’s extension followed a 25-minute discussion and a 5-2 vote. Bartlett, Banks, Crowder-Eagle, Stultz and Morgan voted for the extension, and Angelucci and Sweeney were against it.

A third proposed charter school, Foundation Charter School’s Cobb Charter Academy, was rejected as part of the board’s consent agenda.

Turning Point and STEAM join two existing charter schools, and , as 2012-13 school year petitioners to receive extensions this month. The district administration also recommended rejecting the Mableton school’s proposal, while the Smyrna school asked for the extension before the board received a recommendation.

Bartlett said each group has until July 21 to submit a revised petition so Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction Robert Benson and his staff can review the new information.

Because the petitions typically arrive in 3-inch binders and require 10 to 12 staff members to spend 30 to 40 hours analyzing them, Benson told the board he couldn't make recommendations to them until September.

Board Attorney Clem Doyle suggested that the board meet with Benson in the near future about “tweaking” the charter school policy to ensure the process is as efficient as possible.

Sweeney agreed.

“In these tight financial times, tasking our staff with a constant review of this information and going on with these extensions is costly from a personnel standpoint,” he said. “I would encourage any future charters to essentially have, let’s just say, their ducks in a row when it comes to presenting this information to the district because these perpetual extensions, I think, are going to be fewer and far between.”

Also at the meeting, the board awarded Atlanta’s Cablik Enterprises a $334,250 contract for renovations to and unanimously approved the personnel report.

Among the key parts of that report:

  • Assistant Principal Beverly Brisker resigned, effective June 16.
  • Garrison Mill Elementary Principal Paula Huffman resigned, effective June 30.
  • Principal Charlotte Stowers resigned effective June 30, but she’s returning as a 49 percent employee as Area 3’s interim superintendent from July 6 to Nov. 9. That area covers East Cobb.
  • Jill Kalina will come out of retirement to return at 49 percent and share the Area 3 interim superintendent job with Stowers from July 6 to Nov. 9.
  • Alice Stouder’s contract as an interim deputy superintendent was extended from July 1 to Nov. 7.
  • Susan Christensen will be promoted from special student services assistant director to director.
  • Assistant Principal Jonathan Giesler was promoted to Garrison Mill Elementary’s principal.
  • Assistant Principal Jocelyn Macpherson becomes assistant principal at .
  • Osborne High assistant administrator Marilyn Porterfield was promoted to assistant principal at the school.
  • assistant administrator Stephanie Rainey was promoted to assistant principal at the school.
  • assistant administrator Patricia Alford was promoted to assistant principal at the school.
  • assistant administrator Rako Morrissey was promoted to assistant principal at .
  • teacher Keelie Bowen was promoted to assistant principal at .
  • teacher John Foster was promoted to assistant principal at .
  • Assistant Principal Kelly Luscre becomes an assistant principal at .

Also at the meeting, independent audit firm Bates, Carter & Co. of Gainesville reported the results of a performance audit of the SPLOST III program. The audit found “no incidents of noncompliance.”

Early in the meeting the board recognized the achievements of:

  • Eight-time girls tennis state champion . Under coach Roberta Manheim, the Raiders have compiled a 147-match winning streak, breaking a state record established in 1972. Five of the nine seniors on the 12-person squad plan to compete in tennis at the collegiate level, Manheim said.
  • Retiring Walton boys soccer coach Bucky Boozer. He coached the Raiders for 27 seasons and won six state titles, including this year. The other championships came in 1986, 1995, 2002, 2006 and 2008.
  • The Jessye Coleman PTA Council, which had Georgia’s fastest-growing PTA membership this past school year.
  • Smyrna’s Otha Thornton, the new president-elect of the National PTA. Thornton has been involved with the PTA for more than 10 years.

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