Cobb officials dismissed one of the charter school’s main defenses: a claim that Cobb shorted the school $2.1 million over three years. With that money, it would have had a bigger financial cushion and might have paid teachers enough to reduce its problem with turnover, principal Kari Schrock told the Cobb board.
Cobb staff retorted that the school shorted itself by filing inaccurate staffing reports for three years in a row.
The school’s independent board, desperate to keep the doors open, then applied for a charter through the state.
Charter commission staff wrote in response to the petition that the school’s academic track record would not ordinarily warrant a state charter, but in this case there were extenuating circumstances.
The commission staff blamed Cobb.
"For the last three years, the school received an average of $1,853 per pupil less than the average brick-and-mortar state charter school," they wrote. They added that "the school's local authorizer" -- that would be Cobb -- failed to abide by the National Association of Charter School Authorizer's principles by failing to give the school timely reviews and documentation of deficiencies "until well after the time for remediation had passed," leaving the school no chance to show it could address the shortcomings.
Assuming the state board signs off on the charter, the school can remain open at least three years, but will likely have to show it’s gaining ground to get a renewal after that. And it will have to do this without the benefit of local tax dollars from Cobb.