Three Georgia charter schools are closer to getting thousands more in student funding.
The State Board of Education approved a plan that would allow three state-chartered schools to become commission-chartered schools.
What’s the difference? State-chartered schools were approved by the State Board of Education after local school boards denied them. These schools get state money, but no local funding.
Commission-chartered schools are approved by the new Georgia Charter Schools Commission. This group, created by the Legislature last year, has the power to approve charter schools and give them local and state money. Schools would get local money even if the local school board denied their applications
The three charter schools seeking the change are: Ivy Preparatory Academy in Norcross, the Scholars Academy State Elementary in Riverdale and Charter Conservatory for Liberal Arts & Technology in Statesboro. The commission could vote on the three schools June 18.
Expect public school districts to fight this. Several have threatened lawsuits.
Critics argue that the commission usurps local control. They question the wisdom of an appointed state commission awarding local tax money to a group without approval from locally elected officials.
They also fear the loss of funding at a time when school districts are cutting programs and laying off employees.
Commission members and others argue that because charter schools are public schools they are entitled to all the funding traditional public schools receive.
Charter schools have been getting a lot of support lately from President Obama and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. States that are restrictive with charter schools could lose some federal “Race to the Top” stimulus money, Duncan said Monday.
Charter schools are supported with taxes but exempt from many regulations traditional public schools must follow. The expectation is that charters use innovative methods and programs.
Who should decide whether charter schools get local tax money? Does the new commission usurp local control?