Budget battle intensifies; school board wants balanced budget

Bobby S. White, the ASD's chief of external affairs, said adding penalties for closures could deter charter operators from taking on an already risky and challenging task to turn around schools in the state's bottom 5 percent.

The most contested bill, SB 808, was pulled by its author late Monday night and put on a two-year timetable for further discussion.

Smith cited the school's governance and financial problems, which included ending balances last school year of a negative $110,000 - along with school's labeling by the state as being in academic distress because fewer than half of students scored at proficient levels on state tests over multiple years.

"I don't want anyone to stop", said Chastain, who was holding back tears.

"It is not uncommon for an entity that sponsors a charter to have a superintendent or principal on its board of directors", Smith said.

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"If it's about financial hardship, we should just shut them all now, because all of them would be", said board member Mónica Ratliff, arguing against the proposition.

School Board Attorney Tom Reeves, after reading over the letter, stated that Jefferson County's situation wasn't the same kind of conversion that the Florida Statutes were referring to in laying out the "51 percent requirement", thus the statute did not apply.

That lack of clarity has suddenly started to matter a lot in Memphis, where charter schools are struggling to attract enough students to stay viable. "SB 808 leaves local education communities with no recourse but to clog superior courts when hostile school districts blatantly ignore the law in rejection of high-quality public school options being provided by charter public school teachers in a setting chosen by parents as the best fit for their child".

"As I understand, they're three weeks behind their normal turnaround", he said.

Tatum said that the salary is the result of her long hours of work - sometimes 16 to 18 hours a day - as an advocate for the school in southwest Little Rock and as the driving force behind the school's improved academic achievement.

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Still, there's more at stake with turnaround districts like the ASD, said Morris, a Klondike alumna who is now executive director of the Klondike Smokey City Community Development Corp.

The school has projected revenue of $1.013 million this year.

Panel members voting for revoking the charter were Smith, Rogers, Pfeffer, Mark Gotcher, Bobby Lester and Eric Saunders.

Despite their pleas, the board voted 6 to 1 to not renew the charter. "At that time, we can address these concerns".

School Board President Patrick Sullivan said Wednesday that the board is due to adopt its $95.2 million budget next week, a spending plan calling for a 4.1 percent hike to the tax levy. Additionally, Davis said the charter school only met four of its 21 goals it set for itself in its most recent charter, which the Cobb School District approved in 2012.

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The services from the resource center are conditioned on the school selecting new leadership by June 30, Walter said.

  • Nancy Warren