Georgia’s highest court has upheld a Fulton County court ruling that bars the Atlanta school district from using tax dollars to pay for its pension obligations before distributing a share of the money to local charter schools.
The unanimous ruling announced last week by the Georgia Supreme Court means the 49,000-student school system can’t deduct millions of dollars from its revenue to pay for its expenses before distributing the money to startup charter schools.
The justices decided that state law is clear regarding how the money is to be distributed to the schools.
In May 2012, district officials announced that they planned to subtract $38.6 million to pay pension-liability expenses before distributing money to regular and charter schools. In August, eight charter schools sued, leading to the Supreme Court ruling.
District officials have argued that all schools in the system share services, so all of them should have to deal with the district’s financial problems.
The charter schools said they shouldn’t be responsible for a pension debt they had nothing to do with. The charter schools don’t participate in the pension system.
A version of this article appeared in the October 02, 2013 edition of Education Week as Ga. High Court Rules In Favor of Charters