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Cherokee Rallies to Save County's First Charter School

Parents, teachers and students protest a state Supreme Court ruling that could derail plans for Cherokee Charter Academy's inaugural year.

Saturday, 995 students won a spot at the county's first charter school.

Monday, they learned the school might not even open.

And on Tuesday morning, families gathered outside the Capitol to ask for state support for their institution.

such as Cherokee Charter Academy, ruling them unconstitutional.

The decision affects thousands of children in the state. A total of 16 schools serving 15,000 students were approved by the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, not their local school districts, Georgia Charter Schools Association spokesman Seth Coleman said.

"The fight has only just begun," said Rep. Jan Jones, speaker pro tem of the Georgia House of Representatives. "One size [education] doesn't fit everyone."

Stephanie Thomas, Christine Rea, Kelly Marlow and Erica Williams were among a group of parents from Cherokee County who made the trek to the Capitol.

"Whether our kids got in or not," Marlow said, "we are here to support."

Cherokee Charter Academy forged ahead with plans for its inaugural year knowing the case could potentially derail those efforts.

Officials announced the school would open in the fall at the site of , the Sixes Road private school that has endured mounting debt, foreclosure and other problems in the last few months. They hired . And on Saturday, the school held a lottery that determined who got in the school and who didn't. Nearly 2,500 students applied. Almost 1,000 were accepted. The results of the lottery were posted here.

Now officials are trying to figure out how they can move forward.

For a list of commonly asked questions, click .

Adrienne Slade May 17, 2011 at 05:31 PM
Yes! I was there too! Great to see so much positive energy for the charter schools across the state. Especially touched by the Ivy Prep girls. Amazing!
Rodney Thrash May 17, 2011 at 05:35 PM
Adrienne: Thanks for your comment. If you have any pictures or videos from today's rally, please shoot them my way (email rodney.thrash@patch.com or click on the add photos and videos link). Be sure to mention if you are a parent of a Cherokee Charter student. Also, if you'd like to write a letter to the editor or a first person piece about your experience at today's rally, I'd be happy to consider running it on our site.
Kelly Marlow May 17, 2011 at 07:43 PM
Mr. Thrash. I was at the rally today as well and have sent a comment to your e-mail address. Thank you so much for covering this critical story.
Rodney Thrash May 17, 2011 at 08:35 PM
Thanks for speaking to my fellow "Patcher" today, Kelly! I replied to your email.
nick May 18, 2011 at 06:37 AM
Keep up the good work! this is a cause worth fighting for!

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