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Greene County BOE approves 5-year charter extension for LOA

November 16, 2023

Greensboro, Ga. – The Greene County Board of Education approved a 5-year charter extension for Lake Oconee Academy at its regular meeting on Thursday, Nov. 16th. The new charter, which will begin in July 2024, goes next to the Georgia State Board of Education for approval. 

“We are excited to have passed the charter petition this evening, and I greatly appreciate the working relationship Dr. Bowling and I had throughout the charter drafting process,” said Superintendent Dr. Chris Houston. “Months of work went into this document on both sides, and I believe it has resulted in a fair, generous contract. We look forward to the next steps and next chapter in this partnership.”

The new charter allows LOA to increase enrollment up to 1,144 students, which is the maximum capacity of its current facilities, along with an offer to build a new middle school facility—which could allow for future enrollment growth—to replace the 8-year-old modular buildings that currently house its middle school program, and $2.5 million in ESPLOST over the next 5 years.

In order to establish clarity for student funding and enrollment, the new charter contract makes no distinction between the terms “enrollment cap” and “funding cap,” — terms which never should have been divided, Dr. Houston says. The distinction between these two terms was the basis of controversy that led to litigation in the past.

“Dr. Bowling and I made every effort throughout the drafting process to produce a clear document that leaves as little room as possible for confusion in the future as we move forward,” Dr. Houston said. “The students, families, and staff of LOA and the county as a whole deserve to know exactly what to expect from this charter contract.” 

The BOE made a decision not to support a request for priority enrollment for the children of part-time employees at the school, according to the definition set forth in the law in Georgia Code Section 20-2-2062, which states: “‘Faculty and instructional staff members’ means all certificated personnel assigned to the school on a full-time basis and all paraprofessionals assigned to the school on a full-time basis.” In Code Section 20-2-2066, the law governing admission and enrollment for local charter schools provides for the priority admission of children whose parent “is a full-time teacher, professional, or other employee” at the charter school.

“I commend Superintendent Houston and Dr. Bowling for their months of hard work on this charter contract and their collaborative efforts to create a clear document established on a basis of shared understanding,” said BOE Chairman Dr. Perry Lee. “Their diligent work on the front end of this process provides us with a clear direction moving forward and will allow us all to focus on providing the best education possible to the students of Greene County.”