The rejection of the Columbia County School for the Arts (CCSFTA) charter proposal by our local school board was expected and desired by many. Public charters are frequently authorized by state charter commissions and I believe that this is in the best interest of the proposed CCSFTA, as well. What I did not want was for the school board chairwoman to make misleading statements regarding the application and their denial of it. Your article quoted (Regina) Buccafusco as stating “Our system is already doing above and beyond what they are asking to do.” She also doubted how this school would attract enough students to be fiscally viable.
This school has been modeled after the creative, arts-infused program at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School and other arts-infused programs throughout the country. It also proposes foreign language classes at the elementary level and I am aware of only one elementary school in Columbia County which offers such. The Columbia County School for the Arts’ Web site, ccsfta.org, states that “flexibility will be given to the faculty to create lessons that meet the needs of each student.” “Flexibility” is a significant difference between any charter school and a traditional public school.
Ideally, our school board chairwoman could have said: ‘‘This is a tremendous opportunity for those parents whose children have struggled to meet their potential within the traditional public school format. Charter schools are allowed to operate with freedom from some of the regulations imposed upon district schools and therefore could have instructional styles that are vastly different from the existing schools within our county. We are happy that the children of Columbia County will have the opportunity to choose an educational style that fits their needs but believe that the CCSFTA is better suited for authorization and monitoring by the Georgia State Charter Commission.”
The CCSFTA Facebook page stated that they made their presentation to the State Board this past week and they are hopeful for charter approval near the end of September. I believe, as with many charter schools, the Columbia County School for the Arts will have an abundance of support and quickly develop a waiting list of applicants.
Jodi Lott, Evans