As the economy worsens, more Georgia school districts are considering converting entirely to charter schools to take advantage of the budgeting flexibility that comes with such a change.
More than a dozen districts have shown interest in converting under a 2-year-old Georgia law that has gotten little participation until now, said Andrew Broy, the associate superintendent for policy and charter schools for the Georgia Department of Education.
Districts that convert to charter systems are exempt from many public school regulations, such as class-size limits, and have more freedom to choose how they meet federal No Child Left Behind Act requirements.
So far, four public school systems have changed to charter districts under the 2007 law that made Georgia the third state, along with Florida and California, to allow such conversions. Texas lets groups start a charter system from scratch.
The Georgia state school board will consider the latest group of charter applicants in spring 2010.
A version of this article appeared in the February 11, 2009 edition of Education Week