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An education on Public Charter Schools.

What is the difference betWeen traditional k12 public schools and public charter schools?
Public Charter Schools are public schools designed to be more flexible and free from many state and federal mandates, which enables the school to design an educational environment that meets the needs of students while also being held to a higher standard of accountability.

in What Ways are charter schools held to a higher standard of accountability?

As a condition of their charter, these schools must perform at an acceptable level of academic achievement, financial stability and successful governance. Schools that do not meet these performance benchmarks have their charters revoked, unlike traditional public schools which are rarely threatened by poor performance.

Why Would parents Want to consider public charter schools as an education option for their child?
Georgia has a number of terrific schools and many dedicated, committed teachers, but traditional K12 public schools dont work for every child. Additionally, for children stuck in a poor performing school, charter schools can provide a public school option and opportunity for a better education.

is public charter school performance much different than traditional k12 public school attendance?
According to the Governors Office of Student Achievement, state charter schools outperformed their local school districts in English, Reading, Science and Social Studies in 2011. The only state charter school serving high school grades had a 95.8% graduation rate while its local districts rate was 69.03%. 75% of state charter schools made Adequate Yearly Progress, while 72.7% of all schools in the state made AYP and only 66.7% of schools within the same districts as the state charter schools made AYP. Also, 54.8% of students with disabilities in charter schools met or exceeded goals on the 2011 CRCT, while 48.8% of students with disabilities in those same local districts met or exceeded goals.

hoW do charter schools Work?

A charter school is a public school open to all students within a community. Often, because of a schools success, more children apply than the number of slots available. Charter schools hold a lottery in these instances to ensure all children have an equal opportunity to enroll. Charter schools do NOT hand-pick students based on academic achievements or socioeconomic status.

hoW is a public charter school currently created?

When a group of parents, teachers, and community leaders decide that there is a need for alternative education, they apply for a charter school through their local school board. This amendment ensures that there will always be a fair appeals process if a local school board refuses to consider or approve a charter application.

Whats the problem With the current set up?

Some school boards have refused to approve even high-quality applications. When the Charter Schools Commission was formed by state law in 2008, school boards sued and, even though lower courts upheld the law, the Georgia Supreme Court ultimately ruled in a 4-3 decision that school districts have exclusive authority to approve charter schools.

Will the passage of this amendment cause my property taxes to increase?

Property taxes are imposed at a local level. State approved charter schools only receive state appropriated money and their existence has no bearing on local property taxes. Actually, when students attend state charter schools, school districts retain all property taxes to spend on the remaining children, meaning they can either lower property taxes or spend more per student.

if this amendment passes, Will the state be able to create all the charter schools it Wants?
The commission will play the same role it did prior to the Georgia Supreme Court ruling it will simply serve as a fair appeals process for applications denied by a school board. The commission will only approve high quality applications, just as they had in the past, with only 16 out of the 83 appeals approved during its existence.

Will this amendment take money aWay from existing public schools to fund charter schools?
Not a single dollar will be taken out of the traditional public school system. A charter school is a public school and will be funded with state dollars without taking away money from traditional schools. No local tax dollars will go toward state charter schools. On average, a public charter school receives 62% of the funding that is spent per student by traditional schools.

Will this amendment create a dual state school system?

This amendment only allows a fair appeals process for parents, teachers, and community members who feel their charter application was unjustly denied by a school board. A stateapproved public charter school will function the same way as any public charter school.

Will this amendment alloW out of state for-profit companies to benefit from the creation of charter schools?
State law requires that public charter schools are run by local, nonprofit boards made up of parents, teachers, and community members . No for-profit entity would be running a school. All public school systems use private businesses to supplement the district and school staff. Charter schools are no different.

Will the existence of the charter schools commission take aWay from local control?
All charter applications must first go to the local school board for consideration. Because locally-approved charters receive both state and local funds, it is in charter applicants best interest to be approved at the local level. Only in the case where parents, teachers, and community members feel their application was unjustly denied will they appeal to the Charter Schools Commission.

is the charter school option an attempt to re-segregate our schools?

Absolutely not. Charter schools are open to all students in the school districts attendance zone. Currently, minorities make up 70% of students attending state charter schools (not virtual or online learning).

does this amendment alloW for vouchers?

This amendment does not in any way allow for vouchers or impact private school education at all. This simply reinstitutes the Charter Schools Commission and ensures there will always be a fair appeals process available for charter applicants denied at the local level.