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Senoia annexes charter school on Hwy. 16

It was all over but the vote on April 4 when the Senoia City Council heard the second reading of an annexation and rezoning proposal for the Peachtree Baptist Church property on Ga. Highway 16, home of the Coweta Charter Academy at Senoia. The vote by the council to approve the annexation was unanimous.

Florida-based Charter Schools USA operates the new school, having signed a lease/purchase agreement for the Peachtree Baptist Church property in 2010. The existing building provides classroom space for the current K-3 grades, though the school is expected to break ground on the 11.2-acre site in the coming weeks to accommodate the expansion of the school for grades K-7 beginning in August. Eighth grade classes will be added at a later date.

A site plan for the expansion previously submitted by Florida-based Red Apple Development, LLC shows a proposed 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 is a soccer/multi-purpose field located on the west side of the property surrounded on three sides by an access road that extends from the west side of the front parking lot on the north to Morgan Road on the south.

Red Apple’s request includes having Senoia provide sewer services at the site. Red Apple would be required to pay for the expansion of sewer lines to the property.

City Administrator Richard Ferry at a previous meeting said a gravity sewer line could be tapped for the project. That action would have the opportunity to serve more customers in the immediate area, Ferry said.

The charter school announced recently that it is taking applications for grades K-7 for the school year that begins in August. The school this year served grades K-3.

Meantime, the Georgia Supreme Court has yet to decide one way or the other on lawsuits filed by several Georgia school systems challenging the legitimacy of charter schools.

That said, Charter Schools USA in February through the AdvancED Accreditation Commission received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS/CASI) for all of its nearly two dozen schools in Georgia and Florida.

AdvancED CEO Dr. Mark Elgart in commenting on the accreditation said, “Corporate accreditation is a rigorous process that focuses the entire school system on the primary goal of creating lifelong learners. Charter Schools USA is to be commended for engaging in this process and demonstrating a commitment to continuous improvement.”

Charter Schools USA is the first education management company in the nation to receive the SACS CASI accreditation seal, meaning that all of its current schools and new schools will be accredited, according to the company’s website. Charter Schools USA currently has existing or proposed schools in nine counties in Florida, two counties in Georgia and Calcasieu Parish in Louisiana.

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