Saturday, May 8, 2010

Georgia Charter Schools Commission Ruled Constitutional

/PRNewswire/ -- Arguments advocated by McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP (MLA) were supported in a quick decision May 7 by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Wendy L. Shoob, who ruled from the bench that the law creating the Georgia Charter Schools Commission is constitutional.

Judge Shoob ruled that, contrary to the claims of seven school districts, the state of Georgia has the authority to approve charter schools and, consistent with the Georgia Constitution, commission charter schools are allocated only state and federal funds, not local school tax or bonded indebtedness revenue. The plaintiff school districts were Bulloch, Candler, Coweta, DeKalb, Griffin-Spalding and Henry counties, and the City of Atlanta.

The districts had sued the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia Board of Education, and three schools that had been approved by the commission: Ivy Preparatory Charter Academy in Norcross, the Charter Conservatory for Liberal Arts and Technology in Statesboro and Heron Bay, which will open in fall 2011 in Henry County.

The suit alleged that the commission was an independent school system in violation of the state constitution. Shoob ruled that the commission charter schools were created pursuant to a special schools provision in the constitution. She said commission charter schools are not required to be under the control of a local school district, and that the funding of the schools is constitutional.

Judge Shoob ruled that, contrary to the districts' claim, the law that created the commission, HB881, was constitutional.

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