RIVERDALE, Ga. -- A brand new charter school in Clayton County was scheduled to open Monday morning, but when students put on their uniforms and arrived at the building, they were not allowed to go inside.
Utopian Academy for the Arts in Riverdale was denied the right to open by the Clayton County School Board for three years. The Georgia Charter Schools Commission finally approved the start-up charter school last year.
But a county official reportedly told Utopian Academy principal Artesius Miller that he needed a business license to access the school and, because he didn't have one, the building could not receive a certificate of occupancy.
Bonnie Holliday, executive director of the State Charter Schools Commission, told 11Alive's Jennifer Leslie the school has met all benchmarks, has a valid certificate of occupancy and passed a state facilities inspection. Holliday added it's "very atypical" for a school to be required to have a business license, as the county claimed.
Several parents and school officials took the issue to Riverdale Mayor Dr. Evelyn Wynn-Dixon, who gave her word that she would find a way to open the school for its young students.
Some parents took their complaints to a Clayton County School Board meeting on Monday night. The board met in executive session and gave the Downtown Development Authority the right to hammer out a new lease with the school. If all goes well, the school could open next Monday.