College & Career Academy puts grant application on hold

The Fayette College and Career Academy (FCCA) executive board on Aug. 21 announced that the organization will not be applying for the Georgia College and Career Project Grant (GCCAP) in the fall as originally anticipated.

“With the Sept. 13 grant deadline removed, we give ourselves time to continue our education campaign to help the community at-large understand what a CCA is and the opportunities it could bring to Fayette students, gather data from students and parents for a clearer understanding of their interests and build strong, sustainable partnerships,” said FCCA board member Kim Learnard.

FCCA steering committee member David Bergmann in announcing the decision said the September timeline for the grant submission did not provide sufficient time to put in place all the variables that must be accounted for prior to the grant application’s submission. Currently being prepared by the school system is a survey of college and career needs for parents and students that will follow a similar survey already completed by area businesses.

“Having come through an important transition of creating a balanced budget with newly-elected board members and a new superintendent, the leadership of the Fayette County School System has fully engaged in a community-based planning process to determine whether a college and career academy is a good fit for Fayette, and if so, how best to create and operate such an academy,” Bergmann said.

“The pressure of meeting a September deadline for a state grant application is not part of the formal planning process, which has no deadline,” Bergmann said. “The grant is merely an external funding opportunity for partnerships that have reached a certain stage of planning. The FCCA directors are unanimous in their resolve that Fayette’s program must be tailored to the needs of our community and that it is of critical importance that Fayette put our very best foot forward in this endeavor.”

The community will apply for available facility funds when the partnership is far enough along to need them. Fayette can show the nation what greatness and innovation in education can occur when all community partners are striving toward the same goals.”

Addressing the CCA board’s decision at the Aug. 21 school board retreat, Superintendent Jody Barrow said, “We won’t be sitting on our hands for the next nine months.”

Barrow said the aim of a college and career academy would be to infuse academic programs with careers and jobs.

“I think we can create a new model,” Barrow said of the potential to move forward with the academy. “We may need to be flexible with scheduling.”

Barrow noted that the Fayette CCA would be required to be located on public property, though classes could be held at one or more locations.

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