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Georgia Charter Schools Association VP Says State Charter Possible

Andrew Lewis acknowledges the state Supreme Court's May opinion that ruled the Georgia Charter Schools Commission is unconstitutional puts all state charter schools in doubt.

UPDATED 5:30 P.M.: Georgia Charter Schools Association Executive Vice President Andrew Lewis said he believes a state charter for Fulton Science Academy Middle School is possible after the .

Lewis said the Fulton County Board of Education had the legal right to rescind its rejection of the charter application and adopt a revised charter that met its demands.

. They said the revised application will be on a schedule that would grant a charter starting with the 2013-14 school year–causing the school to be closed during the 2012-13 school year.

Casting doubt upon a state charter is last May's in a 4-3 vote.

"The constitutional history of Georgia could not be more clear that, as to general K-12 public education, local boards of education have the exclusive authority to fulfill one of the"primary obligation[s] of the State of Georgia," namely, "[t]he provision of an adequate public education for the citizens," the ruling states in part.

Lewis said "The May 16th Georgia Supreme Court ruling has put into question the existence of all State Charter Special Schools."

Supreme Court Justice Nahmais said in his dissenting opinion that "the majority’s illogical reasoning and overbroad conclusion render the ‘special schools’ provision a dead letter, effectively abrogating not just commission charter schools but also the state chartered special schools established under the Charter Schools Act of 1998 and any other ‘special school’ the General Assembly might dare to create."

"Under current Georgia law, school system bureaucrats who want to stifle options in public education can smother new charter schools or current charters seeking renewal, like Fulton Science Academy, by refusing to adequately fund them. This is wrong, and hurts kids by taking options away from communities who are desperate for better public schools for kids," Lewis said.

Additional risk has been added that a local school district could challenge the constitutionality of a state charter special school, forcing the school to not only adjust to what Lewis calls inappropriate student funding levels, but cross their fingers that some district in the state does not challenge their existence as well. Some charter school founders have withdrawn from Georgia, Lewis said, "taking options away from communities who are desperate for better public schools for kids."

A bipartisan coalition of community leaders, parents, teachers and education reform groups has joined together to protect charter schools in Georgia by amending the state Constitution to allow an alternative route for good charter schools to be approved, he said.

"After the legislature passes the measure, every voter in Georgia will then have a chance to vote yes or no on it this November, since it is a Constitutional Amendment," Lewis said.

, a new school caught in the court ruling as it was trying to open for the 2011-12 school year. The school's charter application with Cherokee County had been denied.

"The Real Deal" Education Advocate December 27, 2011 at 05:55 PM
I am for all forms of Choice in education, and Charter Schools are one part of that equation. I continue to find it troubling that in the greatest country in the world we stand for so many freedoms save for K-12 education-we mandate that the only free education is the one provided by the government even given the fact that the parents are contributing their tax dollars and property taxes but cannot use them if they feel another form of education is the more appropriate for their child. The latest episode involving FSA further illustrates the political strife that we as a nation continue to allow those in power within the public educational machine and the teacher's unions/associations to inflict upon our children. Here is a situation where you have a high performing school but because of the control agenda of the public educational machine, a Charter is denied. As Mr. Lewis stated, a 10 year Charter could have been granted with stipulations that allow Fulton County BOE to step in at any time. In a way though, this could be a good thing - these types of incidents will be 'wake up calls' to parents who will start questioning and challenging the actions of Supers and BOEs. Eventually parents (who comprise the majority of the taxpaying public) will wake up and demand the total reform that is necessary by calling for a full voucher system - the money follows the child, period. This will bring the reform needed to K-12 education, where the children become the customer again.
"The Real Deal" Education Advocate January 02, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Ashley - although I dislike having to stoop to the level you seem to want to continue to stay at ...I AM a parent who makes my living in the non-educational, private sector and I am in no way affliated with the GCEF. Please get over that. I have also requested the posting etiquette be enforced on here and have forwarded your comments for removal, as well as requested that you follow the posting rules and respond to the questions posed by authors, and stop the personal, unsubstantiated personal attacks on others who post on here just because they take a different viewpoint. Debate with fact, not with fiction and drama, please.

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