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New Savannah charter school delayed by construction costs

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 4:59 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A charter school had hopes to open this fall but is now delaying that start date because of complications from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Savannah Exploratory Charter Academy (SECA) had 150 students apply for the 21-22 school year, but now they are making other plans.

“This is certainly not a situation where we’re folding up our tent and going home. We’re committed to making this happen and opening up our school in 2022,” SECA Governing Board Vice Chairman Patrick Connell said.

It is something the governing board tried to avoid but says was nearly impossible because of financial constraints. They have dreamt of opening a state charter project-based learning school on the Southside for more than two years.

While they have a lot of pieces in place, leaders say funding is not where it needs to be to build the state-of-the-art facility as construction and material costs have doubled because of the pandemic.

Officials say they are committed to doing what’s right for the future of SECA.

“We will be the first state charter in Savannah. We have to do it right and part of doing it right is not only what goes on inside the school, but the finances are very important. One of the, the charter schools that have failed nationally, the number one reason charter schools have failed have been financial. We are not going to be that, so this board said we have to have a solid foundation and that’s what we’re working on,” SECA Chief Operating Officer Roger Moss said.

Leaders say they have more than half a million dollars in contributions for the school and are having active conversations with other investors.

Their goal is to begin work on their property by October.

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