The first challenge to Georgia’s charter school law went before the state’s highest court last week, with seven public school districts hoping to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars taken by the Georgia Charter Schools Commission.
The law creating the commission was passed in 2008 by state legislators who were upset that local school boards were turning down what lawmakers deemed were high-quality charter petitions.
Now, even if a school district turns down a charter school petition, state law allows the commission to approve it and move funding from the district to the charter school. For the Gwinnett County schools, that translates to about $800,000 taken annually for one all-girls charter school.
The public school districts, which sued the state department of education and other defendants, asked the court to toss out a May ruling by a Fulton County Superior Court judge who declared the Charter Schools Commission constitutional. Georgia began allowing charter schools in 1993 and has more than 170 today.
A version of this article appeared in the October 20, 2010 edition of Education Week as Ga. Districts Urge Judge to Toss Charter Ruling