At a called meeting Monday, Macon Charter Academy's governing board approved a contract with Prestige Charter School Solutions.
The contract will meet an extended deadline to submit a plan for reversing the school's financial, academic and operational issues to the state education department. Prestige, which also provides services to the Academy for Classical Education, will charge a little less than $15,000 a month based on MCA's enrollment.
"They were very reasonable and within our budget," said board member Linda Smyth. "They were very well-known and already have a reputation in Bibb County with ACE."
The fee comes with something of a "money-back guarantee" attached to the measurable goals within the contract, Smyth said. If those goals aren't met, MCA won't have to pay and could even receive refunds on past payment.
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Further, Prestige's deal with MCA will be "phased out" as the school progresses.
"And we also like the idea that they're going to train our staff, and they won't be here permanently," said board Chairman Ed Grant.
MCA originally had until Monday to submit a plan to the Georgia Department of Education, but Associate State Superintendent Lou Erste extended that deadline to Friday. The school had been in talks with the Bibb County Board of Education about the deal with Prestige, and that could help MCA's case with the state.
"I've asked the school to submit a plan that (Bibb County Superintendent Curtis Jones) has agreed would work to save the school," Erste wrote in an email Monday.
MCA's board also heard details of a planned construction project for the Wise Road area, which sits adjacent to the school property.
Clay Murphey, special purpose local option sales tax project director for Macon-Bibb County, said the $2 million project would convert a neighborhood of 22 homes, 20 of them vacant, into a multipurpose athletic field.
He said one of the perks of the plan was that it involved a large enough area of land to do significant rehabilitation in the Pleasant Hill neighborhood.
"You want synergy; you don't want to be an island in the middle of the ocean," Murphey said.
Murphey said the facility, which would also include bleachers, restrooms and concession stands, would be available for MCA's use through the Parks & Recreation Department. The field would officially be used for sports such as soccer and football.
"But you can use it for just about any event you want to have," he said, pointing specifically to field day activities.
The two remaining residents of the area have been contacted and are eager to move, Murphey said. Owners of the other 20 properties are also being contacted.
The project is part of the nationwide Purpose-Built Communities initiative, which was originally proposed at the local level by MCA founder Charles Rutland, board Chairman Ed Grant said. The momentum for the area slowed down when the school faced its probation and other issues from the fall, but Grant is hopeful MCA can show progress in the coming weeks.
To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331 or follow him on Twitter@MTJTimm
Correction: Earlier versions of this story included an incorrect spelling of Clay Murphey's name.