Peachtree Hope Charter School has withdrawn its charter application and more than 600 students will be placed back into the DeKalb County School System.
With the first day of school a few weeks away, officials for Peachtree Hope Charter School were expected to make a last-minute bid for a charter at a special school board meeting on July 19. Instead, Deputy Chief Superintendent Robert Moseley informed the board that the school had changed its mind.
“They requested that their petitions be withdrawn. They didn’t state the reason why but the effect is that there will be no charter for this upcoming school year,” said Moseley.
Board Chairman Thomas Bowen said it was his understanding that the system’s charter review committee had some concerns with the application and the school decided to withdraw it rather than submit it and have it possibly denied.
“It’s unfortunate because the charter was trying to target an area [where] they felt like there was a lot of need for what they were trying to do,” Bowen said.
On June 13, both the Peachtree Hope Charter School, located off Memorial Drive, and the Museum School of Avondale Estates were granted a waiver to allow the schools to continue operating for a year while they prepared an application for a five-year charter.
However, that waiver was later withdrawn from Peachtree Hope because the school fired its management company, SABIS.
“I’m both real frustrated and disappointed in these people,” board member Eugene Walker said of Peachtree Hope officials. “Certainly if they met the guidelines set by both the state and the county, I was prepared to vote for them. I don’t like the way they did this, and I’m worried about those children.”
The only other option for the school was to submit a petition to the state board of education for approval to become a state-special charter school. However, according to Georgia Department of Education spokesman Louis Erste, the school did not submit an application by the deadline it was given.
Now, the children who were expecting to attend Peachtree Hope in August will instead be enrolled in the school located within their attendance zone.
“We have a database of their addresses and the school they would attend and we’ve prepared an individual letter for each one of them that welcomes them back to the DeKalb School System. It tells them which school they will return to and gives them the principal’s telephone number and email address and all the [information] that they need to go and register,” Moseley said.
Moseley also said that all of the principals who will be receiving the students have been notified.
“We’re e-mailing all the principals that are going to receive these students and asking them to extend themselves that extra mile and make sure that these children are brought back into the school system with all due consideration,” Moseley said.
Officials from Peachtree Hope were contacted for comment but did not return repeated phone calls.