Frequently Asked Questions

Charter Schools

+What is a "charter?"

Charter schools operate under the Charter, a contract or agreement among the state, the school district, and the charter school which grants increased autonomy in exchange for increased accountability. Because they are schools of choice, they are held to the highest level of accountability — consumer demand. Charters can be granted either by local systems or by the State of Georgia.

+What is a charter school?

A charter school is a public school that is operating under the terms of a “charter” or contract. In Georgia, a startup or locally approved charter school such as LOA has a charter that is approved by three parties - the GA State Board of Education, the local school district, and the board of the charter petitioner or applicant. A charter school is an independent public school that operates autonomously from the district board of education. It is typically under the direction of a CEO or dean that oversees all grades.

+Is LOA a state-commissioned or locally approved charter school?

LOA is a locally-approved charter school. In 2007, the charter was approved by the Greene County Board of Education, the Georgia State Board of Education, and the LOA Board of Governors. In March of 2016, the LOA charter contract was renewed for eight more years.


Admissions and Enrollment

+ Who may enroll in a local charter school?

You must be a Greene County resident to enroll in LOA. An application is required for the enrollment process. There are certain limited state law exceptions to that rule. There are no other requirements.

+Why can’t LOA accept every student who wishes to enroll like other public schools?

If LOA receives more applications for a grade level than there are seats available, these seats will be filled by a lottery process as required by federal law. The date and time of the lottery is announced on the LOA website, in the newspaper and via social media. The lottery drawing is open to the public and all interested parties are welcome to attend. The lottery is held each spring.

+Does LOA have attendance zones?

LOA’s new charter contract stipulates a single county-wide attendance zone. There are no preferences based upon your place of residence in Greene County.

+How are students from outside Greene County allowed to enroll in LOA?

Georgia law is clear that only students who live in Greene County may enroll in LOA. Georgia law also states that LOA employees’ and board members’ children are not required to live in Greene County to attend LOA.

+Do students have to take a test to be admitted to LOA?

No. Students do not have to “test in” to LOA. A charter school shall not discriminate on any basis that would be illegal for any other public school, which includes selection by intellectual ability.

+Does LOA charge tuition?

No. LOA is a public charter school and there is no tuition charge to attend.

+If my child is accepted, does he/she have to reapply each year?

No. Once a student is admitted, they are enrolled in LOA unless they notify the admissions office that they are withdrawing.

+Does LOA accept students with special needs or provide learning support?

Yes. LOA serves a broad student base and does not discriminate against any student based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender or disability.

+Can LOA ask a student to leave if they are not performing well enough?

No, neither can a student be required to remain at LOA. Attending LOA is a choice. The program is rigorous and expectations are high. Students demonstrate over and over again that they are committed to and capable of meeting the challenge. Students of all abilities receive the highest level of support to ensure their success.

+How does the lottery work?

Lake Oconee Academy will begin accepting applications for the 2019/2020 academic year on January 1, 2019. Applications received between January 1, 2019, and March 31, 2019, will be placed in the online lottery drawing to be held on April 10, 2019. Once LOA begins accepting applications for the 2019/2020 year, you will no longer be able to apply for the current school year (2018/2019) as those already on file will remain on the waiting list for the duration of the school year (until May 24, 2019).

While an application may be accepted from anywhere, pursuant to state law, only persons who have an established residence in Greene County may participate in the LOA lottery. Therefore, only those applications reflecting a home address in Greene County, Georgia, as of March 31, 2019, will be placed in and participate in the lottery. If your initial application does not reflect a current Greene County home address, it is your responsibility to log back into the system on or before March 31, 2019, to update your application once residency is established. This cannot be corrected after the application cutoff date. Please visit the Admissions page of the LOA website for additional information.


Funding

+ Does LOA get more money per student than the traditional public schools in Greene COunty?

No, LOA does not receive more funding per student than other student attending Greene County Schools. State Law requires that Charter Schools be funded at the same level as other public schools in the district. The state formula for per student funding is dictated by the number of students at LOA compared to the total number of students in the district. That percentage is equal to the state and local funding per student that a charter school can receive. State Law also requires that the total dollars the charter school receives be reduced by up to 3%, which is paid back to the district for actual administrative costs incurred. At a minimum, LOA receives 3% less per student in state and local funding.

+ How is LOA funded?

LOA is funded like every school in Greene County from State and Local funds directed to the Greene County School System for the education of its students. The students at LOA are part of the Greene County School System.

+ Does LOA add a tax burden to Green County residents?

The education of LOA students costs less than the education of other students in the county. The original facility to house the LOA students adds approximately one (.99) mil to the millage rate. As an example, this amounts to approximately $40.00 per year added to the school taxes on a home valued at $100,000.00. This amount is decreased substantially by the use of ESPLOST funds to pay for facilities. It is estimated by the Greene County ESPLOST Committee that over 60% of these funds come from citizens who are not residents of Greene County.


Student Population

+ How many students are enrolled at LOA?

LOA will enroll approximately 1050 students in grades PreK-4 through twelve in 2018-19, making LOA the largest school in Greene County.

+ Does LOA only serve students that live in the lake area?

No. The LOA community has economic, racial and geographic diversity. Over half of the students at LOA come from areas other than the lake.

+ Does LOA attract new families to Greene County?

Yes, the strong educational program at LOA attracts families to Greene County, and will keep families in Greene County. A strong education system also attracts business and industry as well.