Weekly Charter News Roundup: Jan. 25 – Feb. 10

Georgia’s ranking for state charter laws has improved. According to the National Alliance of Charter Schools’ 2016 ranking of state charter laws, Georgia moved up five spots from 23 to 18 to because state lawmakers approved regulations to strengthen authorizer accountability, charter school autonomy and the processes for monitoring charter schools.

  • Georgia added 11 new charter schools this year. In addition, charter schools throughout the state enrolled an additional 7,000 students.
  • The first state chartered school in Fayette County will open its doors for the 2016-2017 school year. Liberty Tech will be housed in the former Brooks Elementary School.

  • Parents at Peachtree Charter Middle School have voted to renew the school’s charter.

  • Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent, Meria Carstarphen, has laid out more detailed plans for turning around a number of the city’s struggling schools. The plans include closing one school, merging another four and hiring charter school groups to manage five others.

  • Members of a panel that spoke during the 2016 Georgia Charter Schools Conference say, if approved by state lawmakers next year, the recent recommendations from the Education Reform Commission would benefit charter and traditional schools in the state. 

  • The Heartland Institute says recommendations made by the Education Reform Commission could lead to more equitable funding for charter schools if approved by state lawmakers next year.

  • Entertainer and actor Ludacris spoke during a rally held at the Georgia Capitol during National School Choice Week.

  • Benita Dodd with the Georgia Public Policy Foundation wrote an opinion piece for the Columbia County News-Times during National School Choice Week. She says Georgia’s education system has seen improvements in recent years due to school choice, but there’s still room for improvement.

  • The governing board for Elite Scholars Academy, one of the best performing schools in Clayton County, has announced it will not seek a charter renewal. Clayton County officials plan to operate Elite Scholars Academy as a traditional school.

  • The Alliance Academy for Innovation of Cumming-Forsyth County Inc. has switched from a charter school to a traditional school. The school system made the change after becoming an IE2 district.

  • The Washington D.C. based Brookings Institution gave the DeKalb County School System a D for educational choice and competition in its annual Education Choice and Competition index.

  • The governing board for Macon Charter Academy has approved a contract with Prestige Charter School Solutions.

Weekly Charter News Roundup: September 1 – September 11, 2015

Governor and wife visit charters as the new year begins with great news!

State Commission Approves Three New Charter Petitions

By the State Charter Schools Commission

ATLANTA – The State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia (SCSC) announced that it approved petitions for three new state charter schools to open in the 2016-17 school year. The schools are Brookhaven Innovation Academy, Liberty Tech Charter School and Southwest Georgia STEM Charter School.

Brookhaven Innovation Academy will locate in the city of Brookhaven and serve students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. Liberty Tech Charter School will locate in Fayette County and serve students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. Southwest Georgia STEM Charter School will locate in Randolph County and begin serving students in Kindergarten through 9th grade. All of the schools will have statewide attendance zones, meaning the schools will welcome students from any school district to attend and all students in the state will have an equal chance of enrolling in the schools.  Governor Nathan Deal weighed in on the approval of the schools.

“I am a strong believer that parents deserve to have a choice in where their children are educated,” said Deal. “The creation of three new charter schools will offer valuable educational alternatives to many more parents and students across Georgia. The State Charter Schools Commission worked diligently to produce this plan, and I anticipate meaningful success for everyone involved.”

Applications for the 2015 petition cycle were submitted to the SCSC in May. The petition review process includes an initial staff review of the petition for general legal compliance and an in-depth panel interview with staff, commissioners, and expert third party reviewers in the fields of finance, education, law and policy. Interview panels make recommendations to SCSC commissioners to approve or deny petitions and commissioners vote upon those recommendations. Commissioners unanimously voted to approve the three petitions.

“Brookhaven Innovation Academy, Liberty Tech Charter School and Southwest Georgia STEM Charter School will provide students in this state with high-quality public choice opportunities in addition to what is provided by their local school districts,” said SCSC Deputy Director Gregg Stevens.

The SCSC received 15 petitions in the 2015 petition cycle. Three of the petitions were ineligible for review due to legal compliance issues, five withdrew their petitions from consideration to further develop their educational plans and strengthen capacity for later petition cycles and the SCSC voted to deny three petitions.  One petition is still pending while awaiting action by a local school district.

Since its inception in 2013, the SCSC has authorized 25 state charter schools located throughout the state. 20 schools are currently operational and five are scheduled to open in the 2016-17 school year. More information about the SCSC, current state charter schools and the 2015 petition cycle is available on the SCSC website. 

The SCSC is a state-level, independent charter school authorizing entity. The mission of the SCSC is to improve public education by authorizing high quality charter schools that provide students with better educational opportunities than they would otherwise receive in traditional district schools. The SCSC has the power to approve or deny petitions for state charter schools and renew, non-renew, or terminate state charter school petitions in accordance with Georgia law.

The views and opinions expressed on CharterConfidential are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency.