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Committee makes final push

Dougherty County School Board member Darrel Ealum speaks to a crowd of business leaders Tuesday at Albany Technical College. Standing in the background are, from left, Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Vice Chair for Education Frank Griffin and school board members Carol Tharin and Velvet Riggins.

Dougherty County School Board member Darrel Ealum speaks to a crowd of business leaders Tuesday at Albany Technical College. Standing in the background are, from left, Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Vice Chair for Education Frank Griffin and school board members Carol Tharin and Velvet Riggins.

ALBANY Dougherty County’s College and Career Academy ad hoc committee made its last appeal for support from area business leaders Tuesday as the group nears the Tuesday date set for the formation of a steering committee to guide the proposed new charter school through the creation process.

If it comes to fruition, the new school’s board will likely be chosen from members of that steering committee.

“We all know the dropout rate is a problem we want to address,” Albany Technical College President Anthony Parker told the gathering at the technical school’s Kirkland Conference Center. “We think a college and career academy can help improve a 77 percent transition rate from high school to post-secondary school.”

The proposed new charter school will be set up to fit the needs of the area and will target all the children in the Dougherty County School System. The aim is to provide regional employers with work-ready employees.

“(The College and Career Academy) is vital for the future of the region,” Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Vice Chair for Education Frank Griffin said. “We need to prepare for the future and take that leap of faith.”

The Tuesday meeting is scheduled for noon at the Kirkland Center, and is a crucial next step in determining the new school’s board and future direction.

“This board will be selected by your own leadership,” consultant Russ Moore, CEO of Seamless Education Associates Inc. of Newnan, said recently. “The (Dougherty County) School Board wants this board to operate independently based on the wants and needs of the community.”

DCSS Superintendent Joshua Murfree urged the business community to take advantage of the opportunity.

“One size does not fit all in education,” Murfree said. “We must have vision. This is first and foremost about the students and our community. Help us make sure that our young people don’t fall through the cracks of life.”