School Board Weighs Tighter Charter Reins
South Cobb's David Morgan will offer two ideas Wednesday to help other charter schools avoid Imagine Mableton's fate.
David Morgan wants to prevent a repeat of the fall of Imagine International Academy of Mableton.
The Cobb County Board of Education member for South Cobb’s Post 3 will bring two ideas targeting that goal to his colleagues during the board’s monthly work session Wednesday morning at 8:30 in the Central Office boardroom:
- Annual reporting by charter schools.
- Required board governance training for charter school boards.
“Starting with the annual report, we will do ourselves a lot of good if we’re hearing from charter schools each year so that four years won’t have passed and so it won’t be out of sight, out of mind,” Morgan said.
The discussion follows the board’s 4-3 vote Sept. 29 not to renew Imagine Mableton’s charter. Morgan, who represents Mableton, voted with the majority.
“This will help us to make sure that the lines of communication are open from year to year between the charter schools and the district to have them report their performance and goals,” Morgan said of the annual reporting.
He also wants to implement better oversight and training for charter school boards.
“I have been told that when charter schools don’t work out and they’re dissolved, one of the primary reasons is board governance,” he said. “As a district, if there’s one thing we can do to help the people that run charter schools … we’re setting people up for success. If the people that are running the charter schools are competent, they’re going to do a good job.”
Since the board voted to close Imagine Mableton after this school year, the charter school’s principal, Marcus Barber, and the president of the school’s governing board, Joslyn Jackson, have resigned. Two of the reasons the district cited in its recommendation to close the school were a lack of leadership stability and vacancies on its board.
The school is working on four plans to stay open.
Also at the meeting, the board will go over its legislative priorities, begin discussing the fiscal 2013 budget with Chief Financial Officer Mike Addison and talk about raising student achievement with Chief Academic Officer Judi Jones.
“I think it’s great,” Morgan said. “It will be conversations that will give the public confidence that we’re honestly working toward addressing issues that have not been addressed in the past” until it was too late.
The school board also will go over five agenda items that are due to be voted on at its regular meeting Oct. 27:
- Increasing the award amount for nursing services for medically fragile students.
- Paving the Sanders Road bus stop.
- Purchasing and installing $500,000 worth of resilient athletic flooring for 15 middle and elementary school gyms and play areas.
- Approving Georgia Department of Education capital project closeouts at Rocky Mount and Norton Park elementary schools and Dodgen, Lost Mountain and Mabry middle schools.
- Allowing the school district’s Facilities & Technology Committee to make its annual report each October instead of September.