Weekly Charter News Roundup: September 24 – October 1, 2015

In positive charter news this week, KIPP STRIVE Academy in Atlanta has been named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. The school is one of only nine in Georgia to receive the honor.

  • Utopian Academy for the Arts recently sent the city of Riverdale a cease and desist letter. According to the school, city officials threatened to shut down the school’s cafeteria because it was operating without a city business license. School officials say if “bullying” by the city of Riverdale continues, Utopian will sue the city for intentionally interfering with school operations.

  • The Atlanta Public School District has been approved as a charter system. The new status will start during the 2016-2017 school year.
  • In the meantime, the DeKalb County Board of Education plans to hold hearings on whether to submit an application to the Georgia Department of Education to formally seek charter system status. Earlier this year, the school district sent the state a letter of intent to become a charter system.

  • The meeting on the district’s charter system status comes just after the DeKalb County Board of Education passed a new charter policy. The Georgia Charter Schools Association has raised concerns about the policy in an open letter to DeKalb’s Board of Education, DeKalb School Superintendent Dr. Stephen Green and Board of Education Chairman Dr. Melvin Johnson.

  • An education reform commission established by Gov. Nathan Deal is looking at ways to change Georgia’s school funding formula. The discussions have included how to fund charter school facilities and whether property owned or leased for a charter school should be exempt from taxes.

  • Georgia did not receive a federal planning, program design and implementation grant. That means new charter schools interested in the grant must apply directly to the U.S. Department of Education. The grant helps charter school developers plan, design and complete the initial implementation of their schools.

  • A new national article by The Atlantic says data suggests charter schools are more popular in cities than in suburbs.

  • The University of Georgia says its partnership with Foothills Education Charter High School has been beneficial to at-risk teens. The school has several locations, including one in Athens, Georgia.

  • The Kindezi Schools recently opened a new charter school in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward.