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State to renew school charters in '13
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The Newton County Board of Education has given Challenge Charter Academy its blessing to continue for three more years, but it will be 2013 before the State Board of Education makes its final decision.

Superintendent Gary Mathews said following the board's unanimous vote Oct. 16 he would write a letter to the state, recommending that Charter Challenge (CCA) be renewed for three more years, which is what the BOE approved. Mathews said he believed the local board's approval would carry weight with the state board's decision. CCA is seeking a renewal after its initial five-year term.

CCA's renewal petition (along with those of all other charter school's requesting renewal) is due to the state board before Nov. 1. CCA, along with other applicants across the state, will take part in a panel interview at the end of this year, and the state board will notify applicants if they intend to approve their requests as early as February 2013.

Much like a local board, the state board can also deny a charter's request for renewal and the charter may then appeal that decision.

According to Mathews, CCA receives about $300,000 locally and $800,000 from the state annually to fund the school. There are roughly 100 students enrolled in middle through high school grades currently at CCA. However, during the discussion with the board, CCA Principal Ernetta Dailey-Worthy said she expected there to be approximately 300 students enrolled at CCA over the next five years.

CCA is the only charter school in Newton County. According to Mathews, it is also the only group that has applied in the time that he has been superintendent.

If CCA is renewed, it would have to come back to the BOE for another renewal after three years.