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Peachtree Hope Abandons Charter School Bid

School will not re-open this fall, parents of 610 students now must find other schools for their children

Peachtree Hope Charter School will not re-open this fall, after school leaders quietly withdrew their request for permission from DeKalb County school officials to operate for an additional year.

"They didn't say why they withdrew," DeKalb Deputy Chief Superintendent for School Operations Robert Moseley told a July 17 school board meeting called specially to deal with the question. "The effect is there's no charter for this year," he concluded.

Rumors about the school's fate began circulating among parents earlier in the day.

Kendra Shipmon, Peachtree Hope's director, did not return telephone calls seeking comment Tuesday, and the school's website is already down.

Located in Atlanta's Parkview neighborhood on Memorial Drive, the elementary school, like a dozen others, operated with state permission last school year.

But when the Georgia Supreme Court struck down all those state-granted charters in May, Peachtree Hope and the others were left scrambling for temporary county or city partnerships until they could get full accreditation.

Area school board member Eugene Walker declared himself "a little bit pissed off" at school leadership. "I'm really frustrated and disappointed with these people. I thought they were committed to getting this charter for these children."

Parents of Peachtree Charter's 610 students now must find a spot at another charter school or return to their neighborhood public schools. "We're preparing a letter to welcome them back to the DeKalb School System," said Moseley, "those will be sent tomorrow."

He's also asking school principals to make an effort to welcome back the Peachtree Hope refugees.

Mosley and other school leaders got the news via a short July 17 letter from Peachtree Hope Charter's attorney, received just hours ahead of the special meeting which had already been called.

The school and its management company, Sabis of Minnesota, have split up since summer began. On June 1, the school submitted a charter application in partnership with Sabis; on June 27, another application arrived from the school alone.

By a unanimous vote of all members present, the school board formally accepted the withdrawal of the charter requests.

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