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Hephzibah group considering charter school

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 8:59 PM
Last updated Thursday, March 21, 2013 1:57 AM
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Hephzibah community members led by the mayor are in the early stages of proposing a charter school to give families dissatisfied with the public school system another educational option.

Hephzibah Chairman Robert Buchwitz said his group is urging residents to fill out an online survey about what they would like to see from a startup charter, what kind of academic and extracurricular programs should be offered, and how the leadership should be structured.

The group held its first organizational meeting last month, and about a dozen core stakeholders will meet again in April to elect governing board members and begin writing the application to the state, Buchwitz said.

“People just want more options,” he said. “But we’re still in the information-gathering stage.”

In the past decade, few groups have approached Richmond County with an interest in launching a charter school – a school that receives public money but is given flexibility in its curriculum and freedom from local school boards. The district has one conversion charter, Jenkins White Elementary Charter School, which functions under the umbrella of the school system.

A constitutional amendment passed by Georgia voters in November made it easier for charter groups to form schools. Now, applications denied by local school boards can be sent to a newly formed state charter commission, which can approve charter applications over the objections of local school boards.

Buchwitz said momentum for the Hephzibah charter school built after the amendment passed and residents saw an opportunity to act.

Danny Brewington, managing partner for planning and development firm Ed Innovation Partners LLC, said he sees a strong possibility of a charter succeeding in the Hephzibah area. About 70 people attended the first meeting last month at the Hephzibah Church of God, which was arranged by Buchwitz and the roughly dozen core members.

Brewington, who was called in by the Hephzibah group as a volunteer adviser, said no theme has been established for the school but the premise would focus on character development, rigorous academics and high expectations.

He said if enough interest and support come from the community, the group will attempt to open the school as early as 2014.

“The real thing for a charter is the ability for local governance, so you can have core stakeholders, community members and parents help make decisions that fit in the overall design of the school and operation,” Brewington said. “The tentative plan is to look at the com=munity input and determine interest and look at what is an appropriate governing structure.”

Buchwitz said that he has not reviewed the online surveys submitted so far but that community input will be reviewed at the next meeting.

Jimmy Atkins, the District 8 Richmond County Board of Education member, who represents Hephzibah, said he is not opposed to charter schools but would support one only if there were a need.

Hephzibah is home to some of the best-performing schools in the district, so the charter school would need to provide students something the existing public schools do not, he said.

“I do not see where there’s a need for it because the schools out there are doing very well,” Atkins said. “But I am very open-minded to listening to their suggestions and to see if it is something that would benefit the students.”

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Bodhisattva
6464
Points
Bodhisattva 03/21/13 - 06:22 am
2
1
Well what do you know? The
Unpublished

Well what do you know? The same people that spent tons of money pushing the Charter Schools Amendment and who work for a for profit charter school organization are making sure they get their payoff from our tax dollars. Tax dollars funding private businesses. Why don't the right wingers scream bloody murder?

Little Lamb
46801
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Little Lamb 03/21/13 - 08:47 am
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0
Open Mind

School Board Trustee Jimmy Atkins says he is not opposed to charter schools, but will approve one only if it is needed. Atkins then decreed that a charter school is not needed in Hephzibah. He concluded that he is very open minded.

Is that what you call it?

lifelongresident
1323
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lifelongresident 03/21/13 - 10:05 am
0
0
lets see studeint in the
Unpublished

lets see studeint in the hephzibah area cant read or write, are funcitional illiterates (but can run a dam* fine football though) and the school board sez.."duh i will support a charter school only when one is needed"...what is it going to take for you mental midgets on the school board to realize your model to educate the children is broken (except for johnson, walker, davidson) you do not know better than the parents the educational needs of children but you professed to do so...because you are a product of the same dysfunctional, outdated, and ineffective model and you and the other board members only concern is the continued accumulation, concentration, and perpetuation of you own power and influence. and until you and the other board members realize that and understand it's not about how much "knucklehead"....oooops i mean race to the top money you can get (because that money rewards and encourages failure and substandard schools/education) its about first holding the sorry and triling parents responsible to raise and prepared their kids, second its about developing an environment condusive and encouraging learning that means lysterine...ka'tosha, mee'leeka, ma'leek, key'janna and all the others who are disruptive, disrepectful, violent, unmotivated, and just refuse (not unable to or want but need a bit more help and motivation) to learn and prevent others from doing so, set high standards for achievement, and last demand and expect PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT!!!! even if it means partnering with specific group to have the state constitution changed tying welfare, foodstamps, and any other "gubment" program (including fielding athletic teams-because how is it they can remember football/b-ball plays, but can remember anything about shakesprere's plays) to academic achievement, behavior, and graduation rates..its time to get the parents "out da clubs" and back into their childs lifes and education.

Darby
26830
Points
Darby 03/21/13 - 02:43 pm
1
0
"Why don't the right wingers...

scream bloody murder?"
.
Maybe it's because most "right wingers" see almost anything as an improvement over the current, failed and out of control government school system.

The government school system wastes "our tax dollars" too, and at a shameful rate.

ColCo
819
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ColCo 03/21/13 - 08:54 pm
0
0
Another Charter application has been made

Would it surprise you to know that Paine College has applied for a Charter School waiver? Is that another demographic group admitting that the RCBOE is failing their students and parents?

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