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School board: No to charter school
The Glynn County School Board voted down a start-up charter school petition submitted recently for Valloita Preparatory Academy during its meeting Tuesday.

Submitted by Sheila Spaulding and Margaret Knight, the petition called for an independent charter school on a five-year term.

It would start by serving 40 students in each grade, sixth through eight, adding a new grade each year until 280 students were served between grades six through 12.

But education is expensive. To get the school up and running, the two were requesting more than $6 million from the school system over the five-year period. The funds would come from taxpayers.

Board member Ingrid Metz voiced her concerns with the requests on the application, namely the financial request of the school system.

"I'm not opposed to the concept of a charter school," Metz said. "However, this application needs more planning. The goals are general and not measurable."

Metz felt the school board had a duty to taxpayers to only accept petitions with sound fiscal planning, which she didn't feel the request had.

Board member John Madala agreed with Metz, stating that the Risley Early College Academy, a similar school serving grades six through 12, had been closed because the school system couldn't afford it.

"It's just like RECA. If we could have afforded RECA, we would have kept it," he said.

No one representing the board spoke at the meeting, but one of the petitioners, Dr. Spaulding, commented recently that the school is not modeled after RECA. She did not elaborate.

Board members and superintendent Howard Mann encouraged the petitioners to continue to work on more sustainable ideas, noting that the revised charter school petition process is new to everyone.

"We're supportive of the program," Mann said. "It has merit, but financially, we can't pour money into something we can't afford. It would be worth taking another look at if things pick up."

Mann said the Valloita Preparatory Academy charter school application is not a dead issue just because the board is voting the proposal down.

The petitioners can now take their request to the Georgia Charter Commission, recently established by the state, and seek approval. Charter school petitioners are first required to present proposals to the local school board before taking it to the state.

* Reporter Sarah Lundgren writes about education and other local topics. Contact her at, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 322.

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