The Atlanta school district plans to open a college and career academy in 2020 to train high schoolers for jobs in automotive, medical, construction, culinary arts and other fields.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the school board voted 7-1 to carry out a $12 million renovation to transform a former middle school building into an academy that is projected to serve about 800 students. The renovation will be paid for with $7.58 million in sales-tax dollars, a $3 million grant from the Technical College System of Georgia, and contributions provided by outside partners.
Funding for the academy will come from money that had been dedicated for infrastructure work at two schools currently not in use. Plus, the district has collected more sales-tax revenue than it anticipated.
District administrators say the academy has been in discussion for years. Opening the academy will enable the district to offer college and career courses that aren’t available at every high school as well as serve students who don’t meet the dual-enrollment requirements needed to participate in an existing college and career training program through Atlanta Technical College.
Students who take classes at the new academy will travel by bus to spend the morning or afternoon at the site. They will continue to take some courses at their home high school.
High schools also will continue to offer job-training courses, though some courses with low enrollment could be consolidated and offered at the academy, officials say.
Superintendent Meria Carstarphen says that the academy will provide more options for students, including those who don’t have the money to go to college.
“We are opening up access to more certification options for them,” she says. “It opens up many new opportunities for students who may get the training they need to go directly into jobs that pay well or are in high demand.”
The board has yet to decide how it will pay for ongoing operational costs to run the academy, such as teacher salaries and transportation.