High court overturns charter schools law

  • Follow Education

ATLANTA --- A Georgia law that cleared the way for a wave of new state-approved charter schools was struck down Monday by the state's divided top court in a landmark decision that has left thousands of students and parents under a cloud of uncertainty.

Capt. Jacqueline Isabell, the mother of a sixth-grader at Ivy Preparatory Academy in Norcross, wipes away tears at a meeting held in reaction to a Georgia Supreme Court decision that puts the school's future in jeopardy. A protest of the decision is scheduled for today at the state Capitol.   Associated Press
Associated Press
Capt. Jacqueline Isabell, the mother of a sixth-grader at Ivy Preparatory Academy in Norcross, wipes away tears at a meeting held in reaction to a Georgia Supreme Court decision that puts the school's future in jeopardy. A protest of the decision is scheduled for today at the state Capitol.

The Georgia Supreme Court's 4-3 decision overturned the law creating the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, which allowed the state to approve and fund charter schools over the objection of local school boards. The decision promises to reshape how public schools are funded by concluding that only local boards of education have the power to open and pay for public schools.

"We do not in any manner denigrate the goals and aspirations that these efforts reflect. The goals are laudable," wrote Chief Justice Carol Hunstein. "The method used to attain those goals, however, is clearly and palpably unconstitutional."

THE DECISION DOES not affect the 65,000 students attending charter schools approved by their local school districts, including two in Richmond County -- Jenkins-White Charter Elementary and Murphey Charter Middle. The Richmond County Board of Education converted those district-run schools into district-run charters a few years ago. The board has scheduled a called meeting for 4 p.m. today to discuss renewing the charter for Jenkins-White.

Left unclear, however, is the fate of 16 charter schools approved by the commission and three special schools created by the state.

About 16,000 students are now enrolled in the schools, which are scattered across the state.

"We really don't know what happens next," said Tony Roberts, the chief executive of the Georgia Charter School Association.

A DISSENT WRITTEN by Justice David Nahmias warned that the ruling could also abolish "any other 'special school' the General Assembly might dare to create." That means other schools set up by the state, such as those designed for military families, could be abolished, critics say.

"Today four judges have wiped away a small but important effort to improve public education in Georgia -- an effort that reflects not only the education policy of this state's elected representatives but also the national education policy of the Obama Administration," Nahmias wrote.

State Superintendent John Barge said he will be working with the state Board of Education to "see what flexibility can be offered for these schools," and some of the schools are planning to ask local school boards to grant new petitions. But parents are scrambling to figure out the next step.

"I feel like we've worked so hard, we don't want this to end. It's really frustrating to see we may lose this option," said Renee Lord, who has two children at the Georgia Cyber Academy, a school that was approved to enroll 8,500 students next year but is now threatened by the decision. "This really is the one best option for so many families whose children were failing at traditional schools. This school provided an option for so many families across the state that don't have options."

GWINNETT COUNTY School Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks, whose district was among the group that challenged the legislation, said his system is not "anti-charter school" but instead got involved to defend how tax dollars are spent.

Since 1995, local school districts have created dozens of charter schools, which get public support but aren't subject to many regulations that apply to conventional public schools. Some school districts, though, have been skeptical of charter schools that could compete for dollars, attention and students.

The state commission was created in 2008 by frustrated lawmakers who said they were upset local school boards were rejecting charter petitions because they didn't like the competition. A year before, charter school supporters submitted 26 petitions to local school districts -- and all 26 were denied, Roberts said.

Comments (29) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 05/16/11 - 07:18 am
0
0
Good.

Good.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 05/16/11 - 07:52 am
0
0
If this saves taxpayers

If this saves taxpayers money. Good.

If it is the same cost. Then no wonder Georgia is almost dead last in education.

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 05/16/11 - 07:54 am
0
0
I say do what ever you can to

I say do what ever you can to get the gifted students into schools that challenge them and away from those that slow them down and away from those that have behavorial or cultural problems.

alsteve
0
Points
alsteve 05/16/11 - 08:09 am
0
0
I say to the local schools -

I say to the local schools - if u were providing my children with an education that was even slightly competitive with other states you would not have to worry about the Charter schools, but I had to look elsewhere so I knew my children were getting a good education. Now once again u are going to play with their education? Do you really care about the students?

wondersnevercease
9218
Points
wondersnevercease 05/16/11 - 08:15 am
0
0
Folks if you have to take on
Unpublished

Folks if you have to take on a third job and ride a bike and deliver pizza at night ..do it!! To keep your children out of the cess pool that is public schools.

paulbaughman28
215
Points
paulbaughman28 05/16/11 - 08:47 am
0
0
wondersnevercease and retired

wondersnevercease and retired army, it appears from your comments that you seem to think that students who graduate from a public school are beneath you in a manner of speaking. I, for one, do just fine having graduated from public school. The only regrets I have about school was cutting my classes and not going to college immediately after graduation. Not everyone who went to public schools are unable to reason or think for themselves. In fact, public school taught me how to do both of those things while under pressure and with limited resources. Did your private/Catholic school teach you that?

bullldog1944
0
Points
bullldog1944 05/16/11 - 08:51 am
0
0
Just keep pumping money into

Just keep pumping money into ‘guvmint’ schools and see what you get. RC is a very good example.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
Points
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 05/16/11 - 09:33 am
0
0
THIS IS child endangerment.

THIS IS child endangerment. How many more kids have TO BE SCARED FOR LIFE or dead BECAUSE OF politics?

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 05/16/11 - 09:43 am
0
0
Paul, I don't know how old

Paul, I don't know how old you are but the schools have changed alot since I went to Richmond Academy from 1965-1967. Public school taught me alot back then and I have made a very good living from what I learned and the character it instilled in me and my classmates. Mid 6 figures for the last 15 years or so. The schools are not that way now because they are too worried about the class makeup and the no child left behind law. They do this because of the government money they would lose if they do not tow the line. I would work two jobs to send my children to a private school now. They would be ahead of the pack.

onlysane1left
222
Points
onlysane1left 05/16/11 - 09:44 am
0
0
This decision, as well as the

This decision, as well as the comments, makes me wonder, do you really know where you local tax dollars are going that is designated for school funding? This is huge loss for kids who do not function well in "normal" school environment, yet, will protect local dollars from going into private hands that don't have the children's best interests in mind.

AutumnLeaves
9511
Points
AutumnLeaves 05/16/11 - 10:58 am
0
0
paulbaughman28, private

paulbaughman28, private schools seem to do much better teaching correct grammar, at the least. Note corrections of your post in parentheses: "The only regrets I have about school was (were) cutting my classes and not going to college immediately after graduation. Not everyone who went to public schools are (is) unable to reason or think for themselves (himself). In fact, public school taught me how to do both of those things while under pressure and with limited resources. Did your private/Catholic school teach you that?" My private/Catholic school taught me not just those, but also not to make the three simple errors quoted above, which, it seems, public school did not teach you. I've also noticed obviously intelligent and accomplished graduating students also have terrible spelling even in their formal class assignments. Why is that? That is so basic!

Brad Owens
4859
Points
Brad Owens 05/16/11 - 11:00 am
0
0
This is not a good thing to

This is not a good thing to have happen. But then again, don't you trust the RC school board?

Brad

rbndawn
37
Points
rbndawn 05/16/11 - 11:12 am
0
0
We relay a lot of the

We relay a lot of the education of our chilldren to the state and forget that is our ultimte duty as parents to make sure they get the best out of the school (public or private). The education we give them at home, gives the basis of what they will become in the future. I have heard complaints of teachers about children with no discipline that only cause trouble in class slowing the progress of their classmates. The fault ultimate falls on the parents, who make their priority to work long hours to afford to drive the nicest cars, have the best toys or dress the fancy clothes and forget to make the time to get involved in their children education and make sure they have what is necessary to have a good chance in life. I agree, lets push the state to give our children a better education, after all, we are paying for it, but lets not forget that at the end, it is us parents, our ultimate duty. If you are reading all this comments most likely you are this kind of parent, the problem is the ones that don't care.

paperwren
24
Points
paperwren 05/16/11 - 11:22 am
0
0
I graduated from a Georgia

I graduated from a Georgia public high school in 2001. The regular courses there were not challenging. I think it is important to keep programs like AP (advanced placement), gifted/honors courses, and PSO (post secondary option) available at all GA high schools. Through PSO, I was able to take my high school pre-cal and calculus, history courses, and literature courses at the local college. They counted as both high school and college credit, and they were funded by the HOPE scholarship. This meant that I started my first year at UGA as a sophomore. As long as options like this are available, students who are not being challenged at their local public school have the chance to be challenged elsewhere.

AutumnLeaves
9511
Points
AutumnLeaves 05/16/11 - 11:44 am
0
0
I am not familiar with

I am not familiar with charter schools, but if it wasn't for the magnet schools, I would not have been satisfied with the public education of my children in Augusta. Even so, there was some racism against my children in the public schools, both regular and magnet, thankfully, those incidents became more rare in the magnet schools.

Fiat_Lux
16200
Points
Fiat_Lux 05/16/11 - 12:24 pm
0
0
Another step backward for

Another step backward for public education, coming to districts everywhere, YET AGAIN, from the courts. Of course the public school districts don't want anyone but themselves getting public funds. Actually providing a quality education in a safe, appropriate educational setting isn't the criterion being used these days for awarding the money.

Boogaloo
1
Points
Boogaloo 05/16/11 - 12:32 pm
0
0
paulb28, You would do well to

paulb28, You would do well to go stand in the corner for your butchery of the English language. I think AutLvs will also have you clean erasers after class. BTW, what you were saying came through loud and clear to me.

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 05/16/11 - 02:29 pm
0
0
When's the last time that the

When's the last time that the Georgia School Board Association and the Georgia School Superintendents Association, the plaintiffs in this action to overturn the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, did anything to restore favorable teaching and learning conditions to our public schools? The widespread absence of these conditions is the driving force behind the charter school movement.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 05/16/11 - 03:23 pm
0
0
If you have time, here is a

If you have time, here is a great video that talks about higher education. Called the "college conspiracy". These folks do a great job with videos.

http://www.youtube.com/user/InflationUS

Involved_Parent
0
Points
Involved_Parent 05/16/11 - 04:20 pm
0
0
My son attends a Fulton Co.

My son attends a Fulton Co. charter school. Before enrolling him, we met with the principal who explained to us that their school receives 1/3 less funding per student than the rest of the standard government schools in the county yet they have the highest test scores in the county. They compete and win at national levels in most academic contests. They have a student to teacher ratio of about 18:1. I asked the principal what he attributes their success to and he replied, “the parents.” That was the same response I received to the same question I asked the elementary school principal (where test scores were also very high compared to nationals)when our son was going into kindergarten. My son has received a far superior education (my opinion) this first year of middle school than his peers in the school we’re zoned to attend. School choice does exist regardless of charter or no charter laws but you have to want it. You can home school, you can send them to private school, there are hybrid programs that blend private with home school, and of course government schools where I attended (most of the time). If the parents are not involved, then their children will be lost. Get involved in their education, their passions, their lives, and their eternal lives. Pray for them and with them. Never give up on them. Dads, man-up and point you sons and daughters toward God (Christ) everyday.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 05/16/11 - 05:23 pm
0
0
Yes, Pointing our children to

Yes,
Pointing our children to Christ and modeling a personal relationship with Christ ourselves is the best gift and education we will ever give to them.
Simply going to church and participating in the programs will not do it. It is personal and it is lived out and applied in every area of our lives.

"What good does it do a man/woman to gain the world, if they lose their souls?"

We are eternal beings, the only question is where shall we dwell?

paulbaughman28
215
Points
paulbaughman28 05/17/11 - 12:09 am
0
0
Hey autumnleaves, excuse me

Hey autumnleaves, excuse me for being a bit distracted. And, by the way, if you are going to correct someone on their grammar, please note when someone is using the plural form of pronouns. Thank you for attempting to correct me in something because you feel that we public school graduates are beneath you.

paulbaughman28
215
Points
paulbaughman28 05/17/11 - 05:11 am
0
0
Post Script- Autumnleaves, I

Post Script- Autumnleaves, I seriously doubt that the privileged, such as yourself, know of the type of pressure that I refer to. Also, "themselves" is correct grammar, where posted.

@Boogaloo- I don't really see how I "butchered the English language" so much as was typing a bit too fast. Not everyone has the luxury to take their time typing all day. Some of us have things to do, such as maintain communication network systems and such.

Private/Catholic schools have better funding but you NEED the experience from public schools in order to survive certain hostilities that exist in society. I am sick of people whose parents could afford things like that telling me in round-about ways that I am beneath them for having not went to a private school.

If public schools are so terrible that you don't want to send your children there, be proactive and make them better. My children go to a public school and every chance I get, I am nit-picking about their policies trying to get rid of arbitrary rules such as what color shirts they are allowed to wear.

seenitB4
93470
Points
seenitB4 05/17/11 - 07:14 am
0
0
Paul.....Public

Paul.....Public schools"ain't"what they used to be......

seenitB4
93470
Points
seenitB4 05/17/11 - 07:17 am
0
0
Just to add a few

Just to add a few comments....back in my day when kids misbehaved they were punished in school & again when they went home.....now the parents want to sue the school....big difference.

wondersnevercease
9218
Points
wondersnevercease 05/17/11 - 07:31 am
0
0
"Private/Catholic schools
Unpublished

"Private/Catholic schools have better funding but you NEED the experience from public schools in order to survive certain hostilities that exist in society."

So are you saying that by endangering your childrens mental and physical well being in TODAYS public schools you are preparing them for what?...street warfare?...

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 05/17/11 - 07:41 am
0
0
I think paul is a little

I think paul is a little jealous.

Dixieman
16479
Points
Dixieman 05/17/11 - 08:06 am
0
0
Government schools = child

Government schools = child abuse.
Get a second job, borrow, do WHATEVER it takes to get your kids into a good private school and keep them there.
Best thing about this decision is that it was 4-3, and Republicans get to pick the next justice!!

rbndawn
37
Points
rbndawn 05/17/11 - 08:23 am
0
0
@seenitB4: I wonder with kind

@seenitB4: I wonder with kind of punishment are you talking about, in a normal household kids should never be "punished" at school if parents are doing what they are suposed to do at home. Is no the Teacher's job to deal with bad kids attitudes. They are supposed to report that to the parent who is responsible of taking care of the discipline. If a kid is being "punished" in school it means he/she has most likely a bad parent. My wife was a Teacher aid (volunteer) and has witnessed how bad behaved are some kids in class. Teachers are supposed to instruct on Math, Science and all in between but not to teach a kid how to behave. It has always been a parent duty to do that.

emergencyfan
0
Points
emergencyfan 05/17/11 - 08:41 am
0
0
"I say to the local schools -

"I say to the local schools - if u were providing my children with an education that was even slightly competitive with other states you would not have to worry about the Charter schools"

I'm not sure you understand how offensive your wording is. Teachers were given how many furlough days this year? Had to make up snow days. Have to take whatever children show up in their classes, no matter how indifferent their parents might be towards education or discipline. Teach classes of more than 30 students. Stay after school, arrive early, or skip their lunches to give extra help to students who need it. Donate their time to after school events. Spend their weekends grading papers. Spend untold hours jumping through all sorts of County, State and Federal hoops (that takes time away from teaching your children).

In short, they are doing the best anyone could under the circumstances so remarks accusing them of not providing your children an education? Low blow.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs