Fulton Science Academy High School*

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. – With May 23 the final day of school in Fulton County, it appears probable a decision on the future of the Fulton Science Academy High School will come just days before that date, putting in flux the academic plans for hundreds of high school students.

Last year, the Fulton School Board voted to terminate the charter with FSA HS on June 30, ending its relationship with the charter school after an eight-year partnership. Because there were two years remaining in the charter agreement, the action must be approved by the Georgia Board of Education (GBOE), following a recommendation from the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE), which is handling the appeal.

FSA HS appealed Fulton's decision to the state in January, but officials with the GDOE noted the process was not complete in time for the GBOE's April 4-5 meeting. The date of the May meeting has not yet been set and state officials are not promising completion of the process even then...

However, minutes of the board meeting show about a 7 percent decline in enrollment following the Fulton School Board's action in December, and an open house for prospective students in the spring was canceled because of the uncertainty of the appeal. FSA HS had an enrollment of 250 students at the start of the school year.

Last year, its sister school, Fulton Science Academy Middle School, lost its public school charter and converted to a private school. Morgan did not comment on whether plans have been made to follow the same route for the high school.


ALPHARETTA, Ga. – The looming closure of the Fulton Science Academy High School has seen none of the drama created last year with the closing of its sister school, the FSA Middle School, as a public charter school.

Noticeably absent are the local politicians and community leaders who came out in force to try and stop the Fulton County School System from revoking last year the charter from the high performing middle school. One year later, few voices have come forward in support of keeping its sister high school open as a charter school.

Last week, the seven-member Fulton County Board of Education voted unanimously to begin termination proceedings against the charter high school at the end of June 2013. If successful, the high school will either close its doors completely in June, or convert to a private high school —the route taken by the FSA Middle School...

The recommendation to close the high school came after an extensive audit over the summer that examined the financial and operational processes of the school. The audit concluded significant deficiencies were apparent, and serious enough to warrant a closing of the school...

In recommending the closing of the FSA HS, Avossa pointed to a number of issues at the school, centered on governance board activities, low enrollment and its practice of charging students hundreds of dollars to take core classes, which should be offered at no cost.

Avossa noted FSA High School has never connected with the community or lived up to its goal of being the feeder school for the FSA Middle School. Its current enrollment of just over 250 students is well below the projected enrollment of 450...

"We've had numerous issues with the school since 2007 and have given them many opportunities to try and improve their operations," said Avossa. "The governance board has had a long history of ineffective leadership and poor decision-making, which has led to many of the current issues."

He pointed to the default on a $19 million bond, which was taken out last year to finance the construction of a campus to eventually house the FSA elementary school (Fulton Sunshine Academy), FSA Middle and FSA High. After Fulton County revoked the charter for the middle school, plans for construction stopped and the loan went into default in June. How the remaining $10 million will be paid back is still in legal limbo...


No comments: