Impact on Current Charter Schools
Without a state authorizer of charter schools, local school boards have less incentive to authorize new charter schools or renew current charters, demonstrated by the fact that all start-up charter school applications were rejected the year prior to formation of the state commission (2007), and only 1 of the 16 commission charter schools has been locally-approved for long-term operation since the ruling.
The decision has already impacted two of the state’s best performing schools:
- After the Supreme Court decision, Ivy Preparatory Academy in Norcross received a one-year charter from Gwinnett County. However, the Gwinnett Board of Education rejected the school’s 2012-13 charter renewal request.
- Fulton Science Academy, a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School Award winner, saw its request for a charter extension rejected by the Fulton County Board of Education.
The futures of both of these schools and many other charter schools across the state are now uncertain.
Impact on Commission-Approved Charter Schools
The Georgia Supreme Court placed the future of the 16 commission-approved charter schools in doubt. Scrambling to find a way to stay open after the decision, two of the schools received short-term approval by local boards of education, but most received approval by the State Board of Education to become state chartered special schools. However, state-chartered schools only receive the state portion of funding which is equivalent to approximately half the amount that commission-approved schools had received per student.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced that the state government will temporarily provide additional funding so that state chartered special schools can remain open through the 2012-13 school year. Governor Deal and other state leaders have emphasized that the extra funding is only a temporary solution to the problem.
Impact on the Development of New Charter Schools
When the state commission was in existence, the number of start-up charter schools working on applications was approximately 75-85 at any given time. Since the commission closed, that number has drastically reduced to 20-25 schools, demonstrating the crippling impact of the decision on charter school development.
Impact on State Education Policy
The Georgia Supreme Court ruled that local school districts have exclusive control over public education. This broad decision not only affects charter schools, but also calls into question the proper role and authority of the state in all matters of K-12 education. Most people agree that the local school districts do not have exclusive control over public education. The state currently plays a large role in public education through enactment of a variety of laws, oversight of local school districts, funding in great amounts, and development of practices and policies. It is now possible that almost any state education law, including curriculum standards and teacher pay scales, could be subject to litigation and struck down as unconstitutional.