Friends of CHCS,
The CHCS planning committee has been working hard over the past months to move through the complex charter school petition and approval process.
Where do we stand today?
CHCS Approved by Fulton County
Our final petition was submitted to Fulton County on schedule, March 9th. and was approved by Fulton County on June 12th,. This was a major forward step in making our shared vision for this unique public charter school a reality.
State Approval is Needed
As part of the process for any charter school; the State of Georgia must also grant approval. The state requires detailed budgets and re-formatting of the petition to meet their guidelines. The updated petition was submitted to the state on October 15th and on November 1st, the CHCS Board had a State interview. The state then requested several revisions and clarifications that were completed and the petition was re-submitted on November 28th. The state will meet in early 2013 to determine which charters will be approved – we fully expect to be among those approved.
Submissions on Schedule
All county and state questions have been addressed, all back up materials supplied, and final petitions have been presented early or on time. The approval process and dates set forth by the County and State based on their meeting schedules and agendas. The CHCS Board has no power over this timing other than the responsibility to meet all deadlines with completed materials delivered on time. This we have done.
What activities have been taking place during the petition process?
The curriculum has been tuned to assure CHCS students will exceed state and national standards while our unique triple focus (Arts, Agriculture, and the Environment) has been strengthened.
The budget is based on the number of students attending CHCS. Working with the County and the State we have arrived at an optimum budget that will allow both thenumber of educators and support staff necessary to maintain smaller class sizes, and the successful implementation of our unique curriculum.
Our intent is to seek out, hire and retain superior educators and support staff that wants a state of the art school where students will excel through the experiential concept of our curriculum and in the unique setting of CHCS.
Because we have been going through a complex process with some unknown outcomes, our communications have been sporadic up until now. However, please keep in mind that the CHCS website http://www.chatthillscharter.org/ has updated information about the school and many details about our curriculum. There is also a Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/chatthillscharterschool for dialogue and two-way communication. Please note: When CHCS receives its anticipated approval from the state, a Newsletter will be issued on a consistent basis.
Facilities Due Diligence
We have been working to determine the best course of action for a school (place) that augments CHCS curriculum. As part of this process, existing buildings and facilities throughout South Fulton have been investigated. Temporary student classrooms (modular and trailers) have been researched as well as churches, warehouses, etc. All facilities must meet Federal, State and local government parameters for strict school infrastructure and code compliance.
It has been determined that the best course for CHCS is to create our unique facilities from a blank page. Based on our previous experience during the petition process two years ago, we have acquired a great deal of knowledge about how to go about this approach. In fact there is already a wealth of material in our archives. The board and project team are now conducting a final determination as to the location of CHCS and how it will be developed and funded. We are conducting detailed discussion with landowners, investors, developers, architects, and builders to arrive at the best solution for our future students.
What do we expect going forward?
Pending approval from the state in early 2013, we anticipate opening CHCS in a brand new facility in August of 2014 for the 2014/2015 school-year. The simple fact is we cannot enter into serious final negotiations for our land or facility until final State approval is secured. This limitation does not allow ample time between the anticipated State approvals and fall 2013 to satisfactorily complete the school we envision.
While we have been hoping and planning to open in August of 2013, based on the state approval date of Jan/Feb 2013, the final procurement of land, and construction
of a facility, it is simply imprudent and ill-advised to push this course of action. In fact, we have been advised by the State and County to open in fall 2014.
Pending state approval, we will notify everyone that we are moving forward with a timetable for our opening. As we build our facility, we will continue planning over the spring and summer of 2013. In the fall, we will finalize staffing requirements and begin recruiting for Administration, teachers and support staff in late 2013. Student recruitment will commence early in 2014.
As we move into 2013, we will be issuing regular newsletters and communications detailing the progress of opening CHCS.
We wish you a safe and happy holiday season.
CHCS Planning Committee