Fayette charter school will have to wait another year

Plans by Liberty Tech Charter School to establish the new school in Fayette County will have to wait until next year. Items such as the potential of using Brooks Elementary School did not make the May 15 deadline required by the Ga. Charter School Commission.

“We have always known that it is practically unheard of for a grass roots charter school to be approved its first year, but we were very encouraged by the response from the state commission and now have an action list for next year. The state commission had no questions about our educational approach; the state simply doesn’t know who we are and wanted to make sure we are capable of running a school,” said Liberty Tech representative Christi McCully. “We are not a big educational management company who does this across the country and we are not big political names; we are citizens of Fayette County. We live here, we are your neighbors. We believe that the commission is waiting to see how serious we are and whether we will return. The answer is absolutely. We have already started planning for 2015.”

Though Liberty Tech parents submitted the charter school petition in May, “We chose to withdraw that petition (on Aug. 18) after receiving a list of five questions that need addressing in order for our application to be accepted. In order to be fair to all applicants, no new information can be submitted to the commission after the May 15 deadline, meaning that we are unable to submit answers to those questions. The commission did, however, applaud our model and passion to serve the students of Fayette County and strongly urged that we resubmit for the next petition cycle with those issues addressed,” said McCully.

One of the five items dealt with the school’s location. The Fayette County Board of Education during the summer agreed to talks with Liberty Tech to have the charter school established at the former Brooks Elementary School.

“Because issues like the MOU (memorandum of understanding) with Brooks elementary took place after the May 15 deadline, there was no possibility of submitting that information to the commission,” said McCully. “By coming back in a year, we will have all concerns and questions addressed.”

The school board on July 28 board voted 4-1 to follow the recommendation of Superintendent Jody Barrow to deny the application that would have Liberty Tech Charter School become a part of the Fayette County School System. As a result, Liberty Tech was required to turn to the Ga. Charter School Commission to become a state charter school.

Barrow he was concerned about the school’s fiscal viability and the viability of a suitable location, adding that he understood that some parents wanted choice options.

As a state-chartered school, Liberty would receive state funding but no local tax money.