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Ivy Prep Declines GCPS Charter Offer

Leaders of the all-girls charter school located in Peachtree Corners decided against being a part of the Gwinnett school system.

In a surprise announcement at Gwinnett County Public School's monthly board meeting Thursday night, Ivy Preparatory Academy's Head of School Nina Gilbert told the five-member school board that she would not accept its offer to become a Gwinnett charter school.

The all-girls school located in Peachtree Corners had lost its charter last month when the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that commissioned charter schools were unconstitutional.

Standing before the board Gilbert said: "Your proposed funding was much lower than what we received as a commissioned school and very close to what we receive as a state special charter school.

"Therefore, we respectfully rescind our request for approval from the Gwinnett County School Board, and we ask that you not vote on the charter for the 2011-12 school year."

GCPS officials and the board of directors for Ivy Prep had been meeting for several weeks to work out details for the school to incorporate into the Gwinnett County Public School system. School officials had anticipated the beleaguered charter school to accept their offer.

"This was a surprise," said Dr. Mary Kay Murphy after the announcement. Murphy, along with the rest of the board, expressed their surprise in Gilbert's decision to turn down the school board's offer.

Gilbert said that Ivy Prep would now seek approval for a state charter special school "in an effort to continue to educate not just scholars of Gwinnett County but those who commute from DeKalb and surrounding counties," she said.

Details had been worked out that would have enabled Ivy Prep to serve its students for one year while petitions for future years would be evaluated.

"I'm surprised and disappointed," said school board Chairman Dr. Robert McClure who added that he had thought all parties were in agreement.

Ivy Prep has 582 students currently enrolled in the school which serves students in grades  6-9. However, 190 of those students live in DeKalb County.

Under GCPS's proposed charter, funding for the DeKalb students was not included.

The board were obviously perplexed at the reversal of what they assumed was merely a formality in bringing Ivy Prep into the school system, and some wondered aloud if it was because Gwinnett was not able to provide funds for the 190 students from neighboring DeKalb.

"We cannot fund DeKalb's kids," said school board member Daniel Seckinger.

Despite Ivy Prep's decision, the school board unanimously approved the charter. "Our offer is on the table," said Murphy. "We will welcome her into the school system. The decision rests with her."

Allison Rodgers June 17, 2011 at 01:43 PM
Being a Gwinnett County Taxpayer, why should I pay for Dekalb County students to attend a school in Gwinnett? Fine with me if they don't join the school system.
Annette Rogers June 17, 2011 at 02:36 PM
The "paying for Dekalb County students to attend" was yet another propaganda statement from our school board. Ivy Prep was also working with the Dekalb County School Board. IF, Ivy Prep had been chartered by GCPS originally, they would have been restricted to Gwinnett students and those who would pay out-of-county tuition or meet GCPS out of county transfer policy guidelines. (Not, likely to meet guidelines. However, across Georgia and the US, effective reciprocal arrangements made to benefit schools and students across county boundaries.) Even if we, as Gwinnett tax payers, do pay for less than 200 students that don't live in Gwinnett County, Ivy Prep is a much better "deal" and has cost us far less than GCPS's other "deals". I too want my money to go to my cluster schools, but that isn't happening either. Until GCPS performs a county wide address verification, my tax money goes instead to the more affluent school where the coach recruits our neighborhood athletes.
BJ Van Gundy June 18, 2011 at 01:28 AM
Allison, you were never and WILL never pay for DeKalb County students to attend school in Gwinnett. It is a lie initiated by Alvin and perpetuated by the Board... It is STATE law that the school couldn't accept DeKalb County students without an intergovernmental agreement between DeKalb and Gwinnett that would have meant that the money for DeKalb students at Ivy Preparatory academy would have come from DeKalb. And if they'll lie about something that is easy to look up in G.S.C.A. then they'll definitely lie about things like land deals and redistricting processes. Once again.... sorry Louise and Mary Kay. While I'm perfectly happy with the education that my kids get at the schools that I happen to be assigned to because of my home address in Gwinnett, it isn't right for those that aren't as fortunate as I am to be located geographically near great schools. I'd be mighty unhappy with my kids going to Lawrenceville, Nesbit, Corley, Lilburn, Kanoheda, Stripling, Winn, Meadowcreek, Britt, Beaver Ridge, Harbins, Hopkins, Minor, Centerville, or Rockbridge... or several others! >>> When I started the list I had NO idea that there were THAT many that had CRCT scores that are less than desirable... good thing you have 120 schools and a decent number that score in the high 90s to bring up the county average! Anyway. I'm glad that Ms. Gilbert took the high road. Teaming up with y'all would have certainly meant that you'd be keeping your thumb on her, intent on ruining Ivy.

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