Georgia’s top school officials have set the date for a showdown over Macon Charter Academy that could result in the school’s closure.
On Aug. 18, the state Board of Education will hold a hearing that could see them decide to terminate the school’s charter.
The hearing date will be more than two weeks after Bibb County’s public schools — including MCA — open for the new year. That could pose a quandary for some parents.
“Since MCA's charter is a license to operate a public school, they can choose to open and risk closure three weeks later,” said Meghan Frick, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Education. “We expect the MCA governing board to act in the best interests of their students.”
The board formally approved the hearing date at a meeting held by teleconference on Friday.
The Georgia Department of Education says its observers have seen classrooms where the majority of students were off task, that the school has failed to train staff to cut down disciplinary incidents, and that school fiscal management has been lacking, among other allegations.
The school first landed on probation with the state in September 2015. In April, the Georgia Department of Education followed up with a letter to the school, saying that it would recommend a shutdown by the state board. That letter said things at the school had worsened over the previous six months.
The board decision may or may not come on the day of the hearing.
In hearings such as this, there is a right to appeal, said Stacey Suber-Drake, interim general counsel for the education department.
Charter schools operate under special contracts with education officials that allow the schools some freedom from state rules on the condition that the schools provide better educational opportunities than students might otherwise receive.
Maggie Lee: @maggie_a_lee