The Bibb County School board has voted in favor of bringing two new charter schools to Bibb county.
The Macon Charter Academy is slated to open next fall. It will serve grades k through 5 and expand itself to the eighth grade by the 2017-2018 school year.
Consultant to the Macon Charter Academy, Monya Rutland, said the school will offer the international baccalaureate program to its students.
"Starting in kindergarten going through eighth grade, and then it will feed into Central High School's IB program. So it will in turn give parents the opportunity to enroll," she said.
The Academy for Classical Education plans to open next fall as well. The school will offer kindergarten through eighth grade, adding a grade each year until it reaches 12th. Co-founder Laura Perkins said the curriculum is going to be historically and developmentally based.
"For example in the early grades, children are very good at memorizing and so we take advantage of that by helping them learn math facts, a lot of spelling, cursive writing, things that they can memorize and recite," said Perkins.
"We are very hopeful that they will be successful. And what we want the entire community to know is that those schools will be available for all of the children of the community," said Wanda West, school board president.
Charter schools are independent public schools that are funded by the state but allowed to set their own standards and curriculum. Supporters call them innovative alternatives to failing public schools.
Board member Ella Carter voted against the charter schools, she said it will take too much funding away from regular schools and that the IB program will segregate students. Tom Hudson voted against the Academy for Classical Education.
Mayor Robert Reichert spoke to the board asking that members consider the charters.
The board also announced that Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Jane Drennan, will be leaving her job. Drennan is moving to Ohio where she will work with charter schools. Her last day is Friday, and Superintendent Steve Smith he hopes to fill her position by November 1st.
Furthermore, the board approved the superintendent's fiscal year 2014 budget recommendations, which includes transferring $1,145,870 from the salaries-contingency and $550,270 from the benefits-contingency to salaries and benefits. This makes the funds available to hire 20 elementary school teachers and 10 elementary paraprofessionals.