On Friday, October 23 , Central Georgia’s largest newspaper, The Macon Telegraph, wrote that Macon Charter Academy board members are looking to part ways with the school’s founders, Monya and Charles Rutland, according to a separation agreement approved this week. The agreement, obtained by The Telegraph through an Open Records Act request, was approved 3-0 by MCA’s board, with Steven DeGeorge abstaining and Leontine Espy absent at a meeting on Tuesday, October 20. The ‘separation agreement’ has yet to be signed by either the board or the Rutlands.
Macon Charter Academy (MCA), one of Macon-Bibb’s first charter schools to emerge since the passing of the 2012 Charter School Amendment here in Georgia, was held as an alternative for parents whose children attend traditional public schools that are struggling. Unfortunately, it has been a rocky start in the Macon Charter Academy’s first year. There were complaints from teachers and students that range from student behavior problems to the cleanliness of the school along with the lack of hot lunches for the children.
After only a month of operation, state education officials placed MCA on probation following a report which detailed serious concerns from teachers and parents over the school’s overall operations. When public pressure and media scrutiny started to grow, it did trigger a response from Superintendent Curtis Jones and the Georgia Department of Education which required MCA to submit an improvement plan. Since submitting its plan, MCA has begun collaborating with the Georgia Charter Schools Association to help correct its deficiencies.
Curtis Jones, who has been Macon-Bibb Superintendent since February 2015, said the following to WMAZ-TV in late September:
“We do have a concern about a chief financial officer being at the school to ensure the monies they receive are handled properly. We have a concern about the kitchen being fully operational so students will have access a hot meal. We are concerned about the level of discipline and cleanliness of the school,” Jones said.
“In a worst case scenario their charter could be terminated. It’s the worst case scenario and then the other extreme is that they correct all the areas that needed to be addressed,” Jones said.
Meetings were convened and local MCA officials say progress has occurred but the charter school has a long ways to go.
The Rutlands are not legally required to sign the agreement, but the Telegraph reported there is uncertainty in regard to the founders’ future with the school if they refuse to sign the ‘separation agreement’.