BOE OKs proposal for charter

SUWANEE -- The Gwinnett County Online Campus is a step closer to becoming a charter school.

The Gwinnett County Board of Education approved the school system's petition to create a full-time, online school that will eventually serve students in fourth through 12th grades.

The charter application proposes the expansion of the school system's current online offerings to give students the choice to take all of their classes through the Online Campus, said Steve Flynt, the associate superintendent for school leadership and operational support.

If approved by the Georgia Board of Education, the full-time option will be available for high school students in August 2011, Flynt said. Middle school classes would be available in August 2012, and fourth- and fifth-grade courses would begin in August 2013.

This is the third charter school spearheaded by Gwinnett County Public Schools. The first -- the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology -- opened three years ago to offer a rigorous high school curriculum to students interested in studying bioscience, engineering or emerging technology. Maxwell High School of Technology is converting into a charter school to allow more students to graduate with business- and industry-recognized credentials.

Charter schools are public schools designed to operate independent of federal, state and local regulation in exchange for increased accountability in student achievement.

Board denies Aya Academy charter

For the second time, the school board denied a petitioner's request to create a charter school called the Aya Academy of Excellence.

Flynt said school district officials had several concerns about the petitioner's application, including the need for the school, the school's goals and objectives, and the school's ability to recruit teachers and be financially viable.

The Gwinnett school board rejected the school's charter application last year. The school also failed to receive approval from the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, a state agency that serves as an alternate authorizer for charter schools.