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Fulton schools to contract alternative education
by Savannah Weeks
March 13, 2013 04:52 PM | 5451 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Fulton County will soon contract its alternative school needs to Ombudsman, a Libertyville, Ill.-based accredited alternative education company if the consent agenda is passed at the school board’s March 21 meeting.

Superintendent Robert Avossa reported the district’s two current alternative high schools — Crossroads/Second Chance - North and Crossroads/Second Chance - South — cost the school district about $5 million in the 2011-12 school year.

There were 416 Fulton students who attended either of the schools throughout the year. At a full year, Avossa said the spending for the schools equated to about $25,000 per pupil per year.

“I’m not sure at $25,000 a year, that that’s the right method,” said Avossa.

Ombudsman contracts to 26 county systems in Georgia.

The company builds schools in storefronts, usually strip malls, for students who have been long-term suspended or expelled, over-age middle school students and students with learning disabilities.

The school will serve students in sixth through 12th grade.

Right now, the district is looking at contracting for four schools, with the ability to hold 100 students at each location, according to Deana Ingraham, director of student discipline prevention and intervention.

Students can return to their home school, but they can also graduate high school from Ombudsman.

According to Phyllis Lucia, senior vice president of business development for Ombudsman, 85 percent of students enrolled in an Ombudsman program graduate, earn credits or return to their home school closer to or on grade-level curriculum.

Students will have about at four- to five-hour school day, with no lunch break or transitions to class.

The cost to the schools will average to about $5,900 per pupil per year, according to Ingraham.

She said she hopes to have the contract signed by April or May, so the school can start building out sites over the summer, to be ready for school in August.

There are 74 employees combined at the two Crossroads locations, according to Avossa — 39 teachers, six paraprofessionals, 28 support staff members and one half-time information technology employee.

Avossa said these employees would be force-placed, could apply for vacancies in the district or could compete for jobs with Ombudsman.

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