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State approves Byron-Peach Charter High School | News

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State approves Byron-Peach Charter High School
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The Old Byron Elementary School, now being used by community groups and Central Georgia Technical College, is getting new life. Come next August, it'll be known as the Byron-Peach Charter High School.

Board chairman Roy Lewis said it's been about two years in the making. Lewis said they are a state charter, not a local charter, because the Peach County School Board voted to deny their application.

"The school is funded solely through state funds and grant programs. The state will give you about $5,200 per student," said Lewis.

That $5,200 would pay for teachers salaries, utilities, administrators and other support staff, but the school will have to pay for renovations.

Among other things they've found asbestos and that the building needs new floor, ceiling tiles, and paint. The charter plans to apply for federal grants that help charters get started and by fundraising.

Lewis said at a minimum, start-up costs will be around $100,000, but expects that to rise to $400,000. "To purchase text books, desks, and fully outfit the computer lab," he said.

The charter will focus on fostering leadership, communication, and academics. "I really got discouraged when I saw the graduation numbers from Peach County High School and also the SAT scores. We're in the bottom 25 percent of the state as far as SAT scores," said Lewis, who is also a Peach County commissioner.

Lewis said that means when Peach teens start college, they're already behind. He and his governance board want to make sure students get and stay ahead.

During its first year, the school will be open for 250 9th and 10th graders. Each subsequent year, they'll add a grade until they hit 12th.

The City of Byron is letting the charter use the building free of charge.

The school is planning a public forum with more details on September 10th at 7:00 p.m.


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