C. 10. Approve Amendments for the Contracts of (3) Conversion Charter Schools: Chesnut Charter Elementary, Smoke Rise Charter Elementary, and Chamblee Charter High
It is requested that the Board of Education approve the amendment of the current charter contracts by signing the Charter Amendment Application- Assurances and Signature Page for each school respectively.
- During Summer 2013, the Charter Schools Office received notification from the Georgia State Board of Education’s Charter Schools Office that charter petitions for conversion schools would not be approved if it appeared they were charter schools operating as a traditional public school. These schools and their governing boards should be demonstrating autonomy and innovation, similar to a start-up charter school.
- The State’s expectations were communicated over a period of a few weeks, there was not sufficient time to communicate the new expectations to the three conversion charter schools and provide them with an opportunity to revise their August 2013 petitions.
- Currently, the State is still in the process of developing a working definition of “autonomy” for all Georgia charter schools. However, it has been understood that over time conversion charter schools should function the same as start-up charter schools, even though they were once traditional public schools.
- In lieu of submitting renewal petitions, originally due to the District in August 2013, the State Board of Education’s Charter School Office preliminarily approved the conversion charter schools and district mutual agreement to seek approval for a charter contract amendment through the DeKalb Board of Education and State Board of Education.
- The charter contracts of the three (3) schools were scheduled to expire on June 30, 2014. These schools seek to add an additional year to their current charter contract terms, which would extend their contract to June 30, 2015.
- Utilizing the amended date, the conversion charter schools will be able to submit an organized and well-planned petition, with innovations that are not or cannot be implemented by a traditional DeKalb school.