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AJC "Another Charter School Suit"
Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Atlanta becomes the latest district to sue state

Atlanta Public Schools on Monday became the fifth district to sue the state over the local control of public education and the dollars allocated for students.
It joins Gwinnett, Bulloch, Candler and DeKalb schools in challenging the constitutionality of the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, the state’s newest public charter schools authorizer. The commission has been accused of illegally funding charter schools with state money meant for other students. Commission charter schools receive a matching share of local funds carved from the state allocations of the districts its students leave behind.
As a result, Gwinnett Schools, DeKalb Schools, Atlanta Schools and several other districts lost a portion of state money to Ivy Preparatory Academy, a girls’ charter school of about 300 in Norcross. Bulloch and Candler Schools lost funds to Charter Conservatory for Liberal Arts & Technology in Statesboro.

APS spokesman Keith Bromery said the district had to take a stand against the commission. “It can essentially take over approval of charter schools, even ... funding them,” Bromery said. “That, as far as we’re concerned, is our jurisdiction.”

Tony Roberts, chief executive officer of the Georgia Charter Schools Association, said he was disappointed with APS' and DeKalb's recent decisions to jump on the bandwagon. "It doesn't matter if every single school district in the state sues ... the commission, it doesn't mean that they are right," Roberts said. "What it does mean is that they do not think that taxpayers' funds should follow their child. I strongly object to their trying to hold children hostage by such archaic notions."

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