Debbie Tringale hopes soon to be headmistress of a new charter school.
Debbie Tringale addressed the Trenton City Commission at its meeting Monday night about Lula Lake Academy, the public charter school she and other backers plan to build on Lookout Mountain. “We’re not trying to steal students,” she said. She said that the new school did not plan to take students from the Dade school system but will target students who are presently home-schooled and those who learn in nontraditional ways. The academy will be located near the Walker-Dade line and will draw students from both counties as well as from Catoosa. Lula Lake Academy plans eventually to serve grades 6-12, with a curriculum that will tend heavily toward the environmental and will include many outdoor activities. “We have a relationship with Lula Lake Land Trust and Cloudland Canyon State Park,” said Ms. Tringale. She explained that the academy as designed is a public school, with no tuition. Under the current rules, she said, the state provides so much education money for each student, and that money “follows the student” to whichever school the student attends. So the state money will finance the school, but Ms. Tringale explained Georgia does not easily grant charters, and Lula Lake Academy’s first request had been unsuccessful. Now she and her group have reapplied and hoped the academy would be up and running for the 2017 academic year.
After the meeting, Ms. Tringale said a school had long been needed on the mountain; Dade closed public schools located on Lookout in earlier decades, consolidating their students into schools in the valley, and previous attempts by locals to establish a mountain school had failed because of the economics. With the new charter rules established in 2012, she said: “Now it’s possible to do what they were trying to do.”
In other business, Trenton Mayor Alex Case discussed the proposed Georgia Department of Transportation plan to fix Trenton’s problematic central traffic intersection, that of highways 11 and 136, by making it into a roundabout. He said that he and Dade County Executive Chairman Ted Rumley were following GDOT’s decision-making closely. “We’re the ones that are going to take the beating on this,” he said.
Case said the proposed roundabout could not go forward without taking property from businesses on the intersection. “It’s going to be massive for the 18-wheelers,” he said. The commission had to rescind its decision last month to award a $125,000 contract for construction of a building on its firing range, having learned from its attorney it was required to advertise the project for open bidding. The Trenton City Commission meets the second Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in City Hall.