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Fulton Science Academy High School in Alpharetta seeks 1-year deferral on school closing


School will seek charter status through state



April 17, 2013
ALPHARETTA, Ga. – With time running out on the current school year, officials with the Fulton Science Academy High School (FSA HS) have asked the state to defer any decision on the school's fate for one year while it seeks to become a state-commissioned charter school.

But officials with the Fulton School System are opposed to any action that would keep the Alpharetta-based charter school open as a locally operated school into next year.

"The Fulton County Board of Education made the difficult decision to pursue termination of FSA HS [last year, and] continued operation of the school is not in the best interest of students or the community," said Ken Zeff, chief strategy and innovation officer for Fulton Schools. "Delaying the closure of the schools by a few months presents a hardship to the entire school community."

Last December, the Fulton School Board voted to terminate the FSA HS charter at the end of June based on their assessment of financial and management concerns. That decision must be approved by the State Board of Education, based on a recommendation from the Georgia Department of Education, since there are still two years remaining on the school's five-year charter.

The decision from the State Board of Education is not expected until May or June, which significantly impacts the school's ability to make plans for the upcoming school year

Attorneys with FSA HS say the Fulton School System has not made its case that the school should cease operations, but say the relationship between the school system and the high school is permanently broken.

In a letter to the Georgia Department of Education dated April 9, FSA HS attorney Rocco Testani made the request for a one-year deferral to allow the school to apply for a charter under the newly established State Charter Schools Commission.

"It makes sense for [FSA HS] to seek a state commission charter, and to do so as soon as possible," wrote Testani, noting the application would be submitted mid-June for an October 30 decision. "[This] would avoid extreme disruption to students, parents and staff of FSA HS who would be impacted by a potential closure…while an application was pending."

Testani said a one-year deferral is appropriate since Fulton Schools initiated the termination action mid-year, limiting the time needed to seek other options for the school.

"This approach gives students the chance to continue at one school rather than having to make a change in the midst of their high school education," wrote Testani.

State education officials said they were still considering the request for deferral as of the end of last week and had no comment.

Zeff said Fulton School officials are moving forward with plans to re-enroll any FSA HS students into traditional schools for next year.

"We have been in regular contact with the students and their families about transitioning to a high quality Fulton County School in their area," said Zeff, noting the action impacts about 200 students.

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Tags: Government & News & Crime

  1. report print email
    A Political Scam
    May 24, 2013 | 11:22 AM

    Does anyone else find it strange that the citizens of Georgia just voted yes to charter schools? Fulton County officials clearly aren't doing their job. Haven't we citizens elected these people to govern us in the best interest of the people ourselves? I know multiple families with children that attend the Fulton Science Academy and I can inform you that they could not be more pleased with their students' performances. It scares me. What we elect these people to do and what we think they're doing, they're actually not. Hopefully the state will prevail and see that there is no reason to close such a high performing school, which has earned Fulton County much fame at a national level. In my opinion, Fulton County does not deserve to govern FSA HS, and if the state approves their charter and finally sees the corrupt ways of the Fulton County School System, then Georgia does.

    Julie
    Alpharetta
  2. report print email
    A Political Scam
    May 24, 2013 | 11:22 AM

    Does anyone else find it strange that the citizens of Georgia just voted yes to charter schools? Fulton County officials clearly aren't doing their job. Haven't we citizens elected these people to govern us in the best interest of the people ourselves? I know multiple families with children that attend the Fulton Science Academy and I can inform you that they could not be more pleased with their students' performances. It scares me. What we elect these people to do and what we think they're doing, they're actually not. Hopefully the state will prevail and see that there is no reason to close such a high performing school, which has earned Fulton County much fame at a national level. In my opinion, Fulton County does not deserve to govern FSA HS, and if the state approves their charter and finally sees the corrupt ways of the Fulton County School System, then Georgia does.

    Julie
    Alpharetta
  3. report print email
    A Political Scam
    May 24, 2013 | 11:22 AM

    Does anyone else find it strange that the citizens of Georgia just voted yes to charter schools? Fulton County officials clearly aren't doing their job. Haven't we citizens elected these people to govern us in the best interest of the people ourselves? I know multiple families with children that attend the Fulton Science Academy and I can inform you that they could not be more pleased with their students' performances. It scares me. What we elect these people to do and what we think they're doing, they're actually not. Hopefully the state will prevail and see that there is no reason to close such a high performing school, which has earned Fulton County much fame at a national level. In my opinion, Fulton County does not deserve to govern FSA HS, and if the state approves their charter and finally sees the corrupt ways of the Fulton County School System, then Georgia does.

    Julie
    Alpharetta
  4. report print email
    A Political Scam
    May 24, 2013 | 11:22 AM

    Does anyone else find it strange that the citizens of Georgia just voted yes to charter schools? Fulton County officials clearly aren't doing their job. Haven't we citizens elected these people to govern us in the best interest of the people ourselves? I know multiple families with children that attend the Fulton Science Academy and I can inform you that they could not be more pleased with their students' performances. It scares me. What we elect these people to do and what we think they're doing, they're actually not. Hopefully the state will prevail and see that there is no reason to close such a high performing school, which has earned Fulton County much fame at a national level. In my opinion, Fulton County does not deserve to govern FSA HS, and if the state approves their charter and finally sees the corrupt ways of the Fulton County School System, then Georgia does.

    Julie
    Alpharetta
  5. report print email
    What about the teachers?
    June 03, 2013 | 12:06 PM

    Will the teachers also be rerouted to other schools? These teachers have assisted in making FSA and Fulton county a great community. Are county officials under no obligation to find new job placements for the teachers?

    Katie
    Marietta
  6. report print email
    Do not give them a 1 year reprive
    June 05, 2013 | 11:53 AM

    The school officials were well aware they were to close in June as a Charter. Do not give them more time and money to even try to get a start charter. They probably will be denied anyway because of the ongoing investigation in the USA about this "group"
    Let them go private like the middle school did. Furthermore, it only involves 200 kids, many were not going to return next year any way.

    About the teachers? Well the non American ones will return to Turkey (that is if they can - the country is in a civil unrest because of the Islamic leaning government)

    They can always join the 6 teachers that have a lawsuit against the Fulton Science Academy schools.



    Mehmet
    Alpharetta
  7. report print email
    Do not give them a 1 year reprive
    June 05, 2013 | 11:53 AM

    The school officials were well aware they were to close in June as a Charter. Do not give them more time and money to even try to get a start charter. They probably will be denied anyway because of the ongoing investigation in the USA about this "group"
    Let them go private like the middle school did. Furthermore, it only involves 200 kids, many were not going to return next year any way.

    About the teachers? Well the non American ones will return to Turkey (that is if they can - the country is in a civil unrest because of the Islamic leaning government)

    They can always join the 6 teachers that have a lawsuit against the Fulton Science Academy schools.



    Mehmet
    Alpharetta
  8. report print email
    Speak our against Turkish charter schools?
    June 05, 2013 | 02:48 PM

    Wired magazine recently had an article about an AMERICAN critical of taxpayer-funded Gulen charter schools. An attempt was made to install spyware on her computer and originated in Turkey.

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/06/spy-tool-sold-to-governments/

    Freedom of Speech for Americans
    Alph
  9. report print email
    Not About the Children
    June 16, 2013 | 09:31 AM

    This is outrageous. It's a school, a HIGH school, and it's been put in the center of a big political debate. Just stop. These are just teenagers trying to get their high school education to get into college and get jobs like the rest of us. Just because the kids that attend FSA need a smaller crowd and a more personalized education, doesn't mean they're not children. All this talk of closing this school must put so much stress on the students and their parents to find a decent high school to attend next year. My kids are not high school age yet, but when they are, I want them to attend a private or charter high school. Public high schools can be dangerous, and most parents don't feel very comfortable sending their kids there.

    Stop dragging teenage high school students into pointless politics and just keep the school open. Closing it will get this community nowhere. I think that a low enrollment rate is a great thing; it means less peer pressure, bullying, and stress. My kids are in middle school, and the things their peers are doing already scares me. I can only imagine what happens inside the walls of those huge public high schools.

    I also heard that, if the charter was terminated, that Fulton County promised FSA students hardships. I saw that a freshman at FSA applied for a hardship to a different public high school than the one she was zoned for so she could attend the same school as her friends, and Fulton County denied her hardship application. Seriously, this is getting ridiculous. Someone do something, for the kids. These politicians never do anything for the children.

    Alyssa
    Alpharetta
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