Pataula Charter Academy moving forward with Decatur County school

Published 4:29 pm Friday, June 15, 2018

Thursday night at the Decatur County Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Tim Cochran gave an update on Patuala Charter Academy, which is fielding interest to start a school in Decatur County.

Cochran said that he does anticipate PCA to bring them (The Decatur County School System) a charter. PCA has until July 6 to bring the charter to Cochran’s attention and to the state.

Cochran said PCA will have to present their intentions at the same time to both Seminole, Miller and Decatur County along with the state. He understands that they will either approve or deny the request for PCA and the state will have the power to overule them if necessary.

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Cochran has requested to be present at the hearing when the state decides if they want to approve the building of PCA in the area.

Cochran plans to take the petition signed at the original interest meeting, along with data collected and letters from concerned community members to prove to the state that this is a community who does not feel they would benefit from this school.

Cochran plans to address the issues PCA already faces in their current Calhoun County location, such as their financial struggle and lack of diversity. In addition, he wants the state to know he objects to taking tax dollars to essentially fund a private school turned charter.

He wants the state and other residents to understand that even the children who don’t attend the school will still be suffering, because for every 100 children who do attend PCA, the school loses $300,000 in expenditures.

Cochran plans to keep everyone updated on when and if PCA files and how they can help the school system if they are interested.

PCA originally came to the Kirbo Center back in March to hold an informative meeting about opening a school in Decatur County. The Superintendent of PCA, Kylie Holley, wanted parents to realize there was another choice available for their children’s education.

However, Superintendent Tim Cochran was opposed to this type of school and called it “divisive”, wanting parents to know it was not a true public school and does not offer door to door transportation for students.

PCA has explained they don’t have the funds for that type of transportation and they are actively working to become more diverse.

Since the meeting, PCA has hired an administrator from Calhoun County for the new location, although it has yet to be approved.