Senoia school gets charter extension

It was an announcement that parents of school children at the Coweta Charter Academy (CCA) at Senoia have been waiting for. The school last week received a five-year renewal of its charter and is expected to soon begin construction work that will expand the school on Ga. Highway 16 on Senoia’s west side.

Ga. Charter Educational Foundation (GCEF) board member Lyn Michaels-Carden said the CCA received a five-year charter renewal last week from the Ga. State Board of Education. The renewal is effective beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, Michaels-Carden said.

CCA currently serves children in grades K-5. As for the coming school year, Michaels-Carden said that while not finalized, a likely scenario for expanding grade options would be to have the school open for 6th grade students next school year, then adding 7th grade classes in 2014-2015 and 8th grade classes in 2015-2016. She said the GCEF board is expected to make a final decision soon.

Also a part of expanding the school will be the construction of a new classroom building, expected to be located on the 11.2-acre site of Peachtree Baptist Church that currently houses the school.

Florida-based Red Apple Development LLC will construct the building and lease it to GCEF, Michaels-Carden said. As for academics, Florida-based Charter Schools USA will continue to provide the school’s educational management.

Prior to what essentially amounted to a blockage of the charter school movement in Georgia by the state Supreme Court in 2011, Charter Schools USA had signed a lease-purchase agreement to buy the school property. The issue was on hold until Georgia voters in November gave their approval on a constitutional amendment that is reigniting the charter school movement statewide. With that obstacle out of the way, and with CAA receiving a five-year charter renewal, it is expected that Red Apple will purchase the property and construct the school.

Still unknown is the design and size of the building that will accommodate increased numbers of CCA students. That said, Red Apple in 2010 submitted a tentative proposal to construct a two-story, 34,066 square-foot addition at the rear of the current building and a 1,560 square-foot addition on the west side of the current building situated along Hwy. 16. The parcel has 1,020 feet of frontage along Hwy. 16 and 854 feet of frontage along Morgan Road on the south side of the property.

Included in the site plan was a soccer/multi-purpose field located on the west side of the property surrounded on three sides by an access road that would extend from the west side of the front parking lot on the north to Morgan Road on the south.

The Senoia City Council in April 2011 voted unanimously to accept an annexation request that brought the charter school property into the city. The move paved the way for sewer services to be extended along Hwy. 16 to the school property at Red Apple’s expense. It also enables the city to serve additional customers in the immediate area.