Thursday, June 11, 2009

Three Charter Schools Allowed to Seek State Charter Commission Authorization

Charter Conservatory for Liberal Arts and Technology, Ivy Preparatory Academy and
Scholars Academy Charter School originally had been denied by their local districts

Three charter schools that originally were denied a charter by their local school districts were authorized by the State Board of Education to seek approval from the new Georgia Charter Schools Commission, during the Board’s monthly meeting Thursday.

The schools are Charter Conservatory for Liberal Arts and Technology (CCAT), a middle and high school in Statesboro (Bulloch County), Ivy Preparatory Academy, a middle school for girls in Norcross (Gwinnett County), and Scholars Academy Charter School, an elementary school in Riverdale (Clayton County). All three have been operating as State Chartered Special Schools, meaning they were denied a charter by their local districts but were approved by the State Board of Education. State Chartered Special Schools are not funded at the same level as traditional public schools and charter schools approved by a local district.

However, Thursday’s action by the State Board gives the schools permission to seek approval of their charters by the seven-member Georgia Charter Schools Commission, an alternative authorizing group created by the passage of House Bill 881 during the 2008 Legislative Session. Charter schools authorized by the Commission – whose members were appointed by the Governor (3), Lieutenant Governor (2) and House Speaker (2) – are eligible for full funding.

This would allow these schools to have fair and equitable funding in order to enhance programs and services for students, according to Georgia Charter Schools Association Chief Executive Officer Tony Roberts.

The Commission is expected to vote on the three schools at its monthly meeting on June 18.
“The students served by these schools desperately need this increase in funding, and as public schools it is funding they rightfully deserve,” said Roberts. “The students at these schools are Georgia public school kids. Their parents are Georgia tax payers. They deserve access to a quality public education funded at levels equal to other public schools.

“We appreciate the decision of the State Board of Education to originally grant charters for these schools, and its decision to allow them to seek authorization from the Commission,” Roberts said. “We are confident that the Commission will be fair and objective about its decisions.”
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