“Their effort was good, but the results were not good enough to make a recommendation for approval,” Hinojosa said Tuesday. “We still have concerns about facilities, finances and academic programs. We appreciate working with them, but it just wasn’t enough in any of those areas to change our recommendations.”
In other business, the board will also
consider renewing Walton High School’s petition, awarding a contract to renovate Campbell Middle School and approving Hinojosa’s recommendation for a new chief financial officer.
Smyrna Academy of Excellence supporters began working to open the school about 15 months ago with the help of Jimmy Arispe, a former Cobb Schools teacher and administrator.
“(We) are disappointed in the district’s recommendation to not approve such an exceptional school and much-needed educational option for the children and families of our area,” Arispe said.
The school has received more than 1,900 letters of support from residents, area colleges and businesses and has pre-registered 1,300 students. Supporters have pledged $583,000, and school leaders were awarded two Race to the Top grants and have been invited to apply for a third valued at $12.9 million, $10 million of which could go toward a facility.
At the June 13 work session, the school board talked for more than an hour about the proposed school, eventually approving a motion from board member Tim Stultz, who represents southeast Cobb, to give school leaders more time to beef up their petition.
They had until 5 p.m. on June 18 to work with their developer, McCay-Kinchin and Associates in Marietta, to give the district details about where they will be located.
Arispe said the data was turned in on time and the school’s location has been narrowed down, but they are still not saying where it would be.
“The property is for sale and has been vacant for at least three years,” he said. “However, there is an active but expiring lease on the property. Due to these circumstances, the exact location of the property is not being disclosed.”
Arispe said the facility will include more than 115,000 square feet of academic space and a 20,000-square-foot gymnasium on 15 acres along the East-West Connector in Austell.
David Banks, who represents northeast Cobb, said Monday that he’s never been for or against charter schools and hasn’t decided whether to go along with the superintendent’s recommendation.
“If these parents feel like this is what is best for these students, I will not put myself in a position to say that the state has authority over what is best for your child,” he said. “Even though I may think it’s a mistake on their part, they have the right to do that.”
Walton High School’s petition for a five-year renewal has earned Hinojosa’s recommendation. The east Cobb school, which has been open since 1998, is seeking its third renewal.
“They just have a great legacy of success,” Hinojosa said.
In other business, the board will consider awarding a $4.3 million contract with Classic Plains Construction of Marietta to renovate Campbell Middle School in Smyrna.
The project includes adding band, choral and orchestra classrooms; modifying student restrooms; painting the interior and exterior of the building; adding PE lockers; replacing the HVAC system in the cafeteria, theater and gym; replacing pipes; making the gym usable again and replacing all the windows and doors.
The project is $746,339, or 21 percent, over budget, of which about $550,000 is earmarked for renovating the gym. The project will be funded by SPLOST III and State Capital Outlay funds and should be complete by Aug. 2, 2013.
The board will also consider Hinojosa’s recommendation for Chief Financial Officer Mike Addison’s replacement.
Addison announced on June 5 that he would be retiring after 29 years with the school district, effective Sept. 30. The district received 15 applications between then and June 19.
“We didn’t have a large quantity, but we had a good quality,” Hinojosa said. “We feel very comfortable with our recommendation.”
Hinojosa said he expects the new hire to start around Oct. 1 but would prefer him or her to come on board before Addison leaves to get familiar with the district.
Hinojosa is also recommending someone to take over as principal at Pope High School to replace Rick Beaulieu, who was named Area 6 Assistant Superintendent; and someone to serve as director of intervention and support, curriculum, instruction and assessment.
Hinojosa said the second job was created after the district realigned departments.
“We created this position from existing funds,” he said. “It’s a new position, but not additional dollars.”
Hinojosa will also recommend the board approve the retirement of Mima Carmichael, director of audit services. She has been with the district for 23 years.
The district will be accepting applications for Carmichael’s replacement until July 4. Applicants need at least eight years of accounting and/or auditing experience, and must be a certified public accountant with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. The position pays between $70,916 and $96,517 a year.