Editor's note: Thursday, the Cherokee County Board of Education voted to wait until June 24 to decide the fate of Cherokee Charter Academy. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in the 1,000-seat auditorium. Below is a letter from the wife of a teacher.
• • •
Today, I am proud to be a Cherokee County resident and pleased to support our local school district, its employees and our selfless, dedicated K-12 teachers. As a retired math teacher (now a stay-at-home mother) and a spouse of a CCSD teacher, I am appalled at the backlash that our county’s teachers and staff have received in the wake of the "charter school drama."
As a teacher and a mother of two future students in our public school system, I understand the desire to provide the best education possible for our children. This was one of the main reasons that we relocated our family to Cherokee County from south Florida–it is an exceptional county that carries Georgia’s test scores each year, with schools meeting or exceeding AYP on a yearly basis. Our teachers are the cream of the crop–every local friend of mine rants and raves about their positive experiences with our CCSD teachers, who are doing more with less every year. My husband reveres his school, his students and his hardworking co-workers, who dedicate each and every day to educating and changing the lives of students in a positive manner. To sum it up, we have nothing but gratitude and admiration for our school system here in Cherokee.
With that said, I write this letter to combat the idea that our CCSD teachers are close-minded, selfish county advocates who respond to fear of "change" or "competition" from another publicly funded school. I am angered by the outpouring of false information about our teachers receiving instruction to wear black to the and to show up early in order to prevent CCA supporters from entering the building. This is inaccurate and did not happen.
Additionally, we did not receive any sort of official notice regarding furlough days, pay cuts or job losses. These came in the form of rumors and assumptions by teachers. Lo and behold, they were correct. We were told by our superintendent that our teachers and students may face an additional three furlough days this upcoming year if CCA’s charter application is approved. Let us keep in mind that this is in addition to the already slated four furlough days due to our dismal county budget.
Can anyone blame CCSD teachers and staff for showing up to support their jobs at the most recent school board meeting? If educating students was what you lived for, would you not wholeheartedly oppose the idea of losing them–and valuable tax dollars–to another entity? If my job, my livelihood and those that I care about the most at my job (students) were on the line, you can bet that I would be front and center, proudly stating my concerns. I am not on the front line as a teacher at the moment, but my support for our teachers here in Cherokee is unwavering nonetheless.
All in all, I wish we could "all just get along" as a recent mentioned. But if getting along entails punishing every CCSD teacher and student in the form of additional furlough days, shortening our already shortened calendar year, I’d rather not. Providing a "choice" for one group, while simultaneously harming another, does not sound like getting along to me.
Ashley Cline, Canton