Georgia lawmakers table legislation seeking to allow more charter schools

March 1, 2012
Proposal sought public vote on giving state the authority to create charter schools

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The Georgia Senate has tabled legislation that seeks to expand the state's authority to create charter schools. The bill, HR 1162, would allow voters to determine if they want to amend the state constitution so that the state could authorize and fund charter schools. The state's authority to establish charters was curtailed last year when the Georgia Supreme Court's ruled that the state could not force local districts to pay for charter schools they did not authorize.

Earlier... JULY 2011...from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has pledged $10 million in state funds to keep eight charter schools afloat. The schools lost their authority to operate in May when the state Supreme Court ruled that their charters, from a special commission, were unconstitutional. The schools then got new “special” state charters, which came with state and federal funding but not local funding; that typically accounts for about half a school’s budget. JUNE 2011...from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Eleven charter schools in Georgia whose operating agreements were voided by a state Supreme Court ruling have received permission from the state school board to open as planned. They needed new charter contracts because the state Supreme Court ruled that the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, which originally authorized them, was unconstitutional and that local school districts had sole franchise authority on establishing new charter schools. Earlier... From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The Georgia Supreme Court has declined to reconsider a recent decision that declared the state's charter school law unconstitutional and left an estimated 16,500 students uncertain where they will receive an education next school year. The state Attorney General's Office and three charter schools had hoped to persuade one or more members of the court's 4-3 majority to reconsider. But the court rarely reverses itself on a decision, and the charter school case proved to be no exception.

MAY 2011...from The Atlanta Journal Constitution: The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that local boards of education in the state have the sole power to fund and open public charter schools, an opinion that could derail the education of thousands of students. The 4-to-3 ruling strikes down as unconstitutional a 2008 law that authorized creation of a new kind of state charter school called “commission charter schools.” Georgia has 17 commission charter schools, several of which were planning to open in August. The charter schools may be allowed to apply for status as state-chartered special schools and keep their doors open. The deadline to open schools in August under that designation has passed, but the state Board of Education could agree to rush through applications.

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