It has been a big week for the Smyrna Academy of Excellence.
On Thursday, the Cobb County Board of Education denied the school a charter despite the large number of SAE supporters who attended the meeting and spoke on their behalf. Board Members Tim Stultz, Lynnda Eagle and David Banks voted to approve Smyrna Academy of Excellence’s charter petition, but it was not enough to form a majority.
SAE held a community event Monday evening at Taylor Brawner Park, attended by SAE supporters including Cobb Board of Education’s Post 3 candidate Bobby Allen, to announce their intention to apply to the state as their own Local Education Authority and as a state chartered special school.
“SAE is proud and excited to announce that we will be applying directly to the state as our own Local Education Authority and as a state chartered special school,” says SAE Board Chairman Jimmy Arispe. “Thank you to all of the SAE supporters as we continue to move forward to becoming the most Exceptionally, Safe, Innovative and Rigorous school in Georgia.”
SAE officials were contacted over the weekend by Mr. Louis Erste, the Charter Schools Division Director for the GA Department of Education, to discuss all options for applying for a charter petition.
According to Arispe, Mr. Erste said that the State had been monitoring the school and the petition process with Cobb County schools since the beginning and after being awarded planning grants from both the Department of Education and the Governors Office through Race to the Top.
If approved by the state, SAE will be their own separate Local Education Authority and will not be connected to Cobb County. In addition, SAE would recieve a few hundred dollars more per student than had they been approved by the CCSD.
The group is now preparing for the state interviews (to take place in August) and will be submitting their application for the Race to the Top grant on Tuesday for nearly $13 million.
The group has also launched a fundraising campaign to demonstrate the the depth of support from the community and seeks to raise $500k in donations over the next 45 days. To learn how you can help, please visit the SAE Fundraising Page All donations are tax deductible.
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