Marietta Charter School won’t reopen next year
by Jon Gillooly
June 17, 2011 02:48 PM | 5733 views | 7 7 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Marietta Charter School has closed its doors and will not continue operations as either a charter or private school.

A June 2 letter addressed to Imagine Marietta Families by Carmen Hurst, regional director of Imagine Schools Georgia, said the school would not convert to a private school under a new name for the 2011-12 school year.

“It is with great sadness that Imagine Schools writes this letter to inform you that Wright Prep Academy will not open in August of 2011,” Hurst said.

She said the city of Marietta informed school officials that it was zoned as a public, not a private school. City Manager Bill Bruton confirmed that the school would need to seek a zoning change if it planned to operate as a private school.

“Second,” Hurst writes, “the most recent decision by the Georgia State Supreme Court ruling concerning charters schools has put into question the future of start-up charter schools in the Marietta City School District. This in turn places the future of our charter school at risk, and as you know, our first commitment is to our students and families,” she writes.

Marietta school board member Randy Weiner said of the 184 students at Marietta Charter School, seven didn’t live in the school district, while 20 to 25 were rising sixth-graders planning on enrolling in the Marietta Sixth Grade Academy, which leaves about 155 students. Weiner said Marietta will have no problem absorbing those students within its elementary schools.

Hurst said Imagine is weighing its options in deciding what to do with the school building, which it owns. But as for the desks, computers and other supplies that fill the school, those were taken this week by Marietta City Schools, Superintendent Dr. Emily Lembeck said.

“Those items were purchased with taxpayer dollars and need to go back to the school system, so we’re declaring the equipment surplus so that any of it that can’t be used by our schools can be sold or recycled depending on the quality,” Lembeck said.

Lembeck said even if the school had elected to become a private school, it would not have been able to use the equipment.

Located off Wright Street by Reynolds Street, the school, which had fewer than 200 students in kindergarten through fifth grade, was managed by Imagine Schools, Inc., a for-profit company based in Arlington, Va. It operated under a charter agreement with Marietta City Schools since 2006. But last summer, the Marietta school board refused to renew the charter for another five-year term, based on Lembeck’s findings that the school had wide-ranging problems with enrollment, finances, student achievement and curriculum.

Appeals to the state board of education and the state charter schools commission were unsuccessful, and the school was set to close on June 30.

School Principal Christy Tureta tried to convert the school to a private school for the following year, giving it time to seek a new charter from the Georgia Charter Schools Commission for the 2012-13 school year. Imagine would have shouldered the full cost of operations, projected to be $1.7 million, and the school would have changed its name to Wright Prep Academy, she said. However, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that the commission and the 2008 law that created it were unconstitutional on May 16.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
cool aid
June 20, 2011
FYI- 800 = 50-52% correct. 850 = 88%. Aso depends on subject and grade level, for instance an 850 in 3rd grade = 92% correct.
Drinking the KoolAid
June 20, 2011
MCAA parent and He, you have no idea. Talk about spouting garbage. All you know is what is fed to you, and you are eating it and asking for more.

Test scores- what a joke. "Meets" at 800 = 62% and "Exceeds" at 850 is a low "B." Means nothing.

MCAA does not actually operate outside the charter system officially, nor does Sawyer Road.

Asuming that anyone who criticizes the district is a Walker or Mt. Paran parent shows a base level of insecurity about your choices, and, again, you couldn't be more wrong.
June 19, 2011
Id like to know how the Marietta City School system squashed the charter school? Lack of support?? what a joke- Why would a MCS support a school that propped itself better than "other schools" in the area. How off the mark can one be?? The school was doomed from the start- the idea that if we set up a private school atmosphere and require parental support, we will out perform schools that don't- dosen't work! It's all about teacher quality!!!!!
MCAA parent
June 19, 2011
To Hypocrites- I really wish you would ecucate yourself before posting garbage, even though I chuckle at your silliness. Sawyer Road elementary and MCAA operate outside of the "charter system". If you had students at either school you would know that.

Your other silly rant about supporting the charter school is equally amusing. IF the charter school lived up to their own charter, they would still be around. The only reason for a charter school is to give parents an option to attend a HIGHER performing (academically) school. That's the montra, right? Oh yes I think you guys changed from superior academics to good character when you finally noticed other elementary schools beating the pants off your scores. As far as our board support- I was my understanding you guys had your OWN board. I even remember reading that Pearlberg joined the charter school board several years ago. It sounds like your own board was not effective.

To Hypocrites
June 19, 2011
Stop lambasting the Marietta schools. Better yet, all of you who take your kids out of public schools for the likes of charter schools and private schools like Walker and Mount Paran should get your snoots out of the air and let your children join the real world.
June 18, 2011
Well, MCS, you managed to squash any competition your insular, incestuous little system might have had.

Maybe they weren't performing well, and maybe they needed some time to work things out, but you were unsupportive from the very beginning; how could they possibly have done well with your constant negative press and lack of support?

But are a charter system, right? SO how is MCAA still operating as a charter school when there is criteria for admission? Just curious if you are following all of the rules, or just the ones that suit you. Hypocrites.
June 17, 2011
Did you take the pencils and crayons, also?
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