Proposed Augusta charter school seeking approval from state, community


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- Last year Richmond County had 21 under-performing schools. Educator Dr. Mayreather Willis says the CSRA deserves better.

“We need this school because parents need more choices,” she said.

Willis is the founder of Challenge Preparatory Academy-– a K-12 charter school with a math/science emphasis that aims to give students technical degrees and work experience in addition to their high school diplomas.

“We want to focus on closing those achievement gaps for math and science,” Willis said.

Funded by the state government, charter schools don’t use local real estate taxes. They also don’t require extra cash from parents.

“Not one dime,” Willis said.

The only caveat? Challenge Preparatory Academy dosen’t exist– but it could as soon as next school year. Willis, the board and partners for Challenge Prep are going before the state Charter Schools Commission next Wednesday to seek approval. She’s optimistic.

“I look forward to hearing ‘approved’,” she said.

If the commission gives the school the green light, the next challenges are getting the career academy branch approved by the Technical College System of Georgia and finding a building, which is no small feat since they want to enroll 662 students at a campus in downtown Augusta.

“I suspect they’re going to be oversubscribed,” said Phillip Williams.

At a meeting Friday night to galvanize support, only a handful of people showed up, but those who were there are excited about the possibility of Challenge Preparatory Academy coming to the CSRA.

“I think it’s a win-win for the environment, for the teaching staff as well as for the students,” said artist and teacher Xavier Jones.

If the charter school is approved, students from any county in the CSRA can attend. Enrollment will be based on lottery.

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