Macon’s second charter school is gearing up to open, with a groundbreaking set for Friday.
Macon Charter Academy will open at the site of the former Progressive Christian Academy at 151 Madison St., between Riverside Drive and Walnut Street in the Pleasant Hill neighborhood.
The building there will be renovated and added on to, board member Suzanne Wood said. The school will open in August with 900 students, or 100 pupils in kindergarten through eighth grade that were selected through a lottery this past weekend.
The academy will be an International Baccalaureate charter school. Students who graduate will feed Central High School’s IB program.
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Interest in the school has come from all parts of the county and “all walks of life,” Wood said. “It’s a little overwhelming.”
The school is in the process of hiring administrators and teachers.
“Everything is exactly where we’re supposed to be at this point,” she said.
The school’s opening was delayed a year from early plans, but that has allowed it to open with a full complement of students, instead of starting out with a kindergarten through fifth grade, then adding grades from there.
For more information on the school, go to its site -- www.maconcharteracademy.org -- or its Facebook page. The phone number is 478-330-7177.
Charter schools are independent, public and tuition-free schools that get leeway to innovate while being held accountable for improving student achievement. Specifics are in their contract, or charter.
Charter schools are opening at a brisk pace. More than 11,000 students were added to charter school rolls across Georgia in the past school year, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Nearly 2.9 million students now attend more than 6,700 charter schools throughout the country, the report said.
Macon’s first charter school, the Academy for Classical Education, opened Aug. 4 with students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It has 758 students -- and a hefty waiting list.
The school’s second lottery was held Tuesday as it prepares to add more classes and reach a total of nearly 1,130 students by August, said Laura Perkins, principal of the school complex.
Another proposed charter school, Cirrus Academy, is slated to open in the old Cross Keys Academy site on Jeffersonville Road, but that opening has been delayed until the 2016-2017 school year, said Tony Lowden, executive director of Stone Academy, an after-school enrichment program in Macon.
To contact writer Oby Brown, call 744-4396.