Senate leaders: Support equitable charter school funding

  Ask any elected leader and they will tell you that one of the most important things we can do for our state is improve education. Given that universal sentiment, it is very frustrating as a parent to see one of the best solutions we have for improvement– charter schools– receive far fewer dollars per student than traditional public schools. Not only does this put stress on individual schools as they strive to educate their students, but it also discourages the creation of new charter schools in districts where existing schools are underperforming. Charter schools are making a difference for the families and communities they serve. They are helping our state meet its goal of providing a high-quality education and giving students the chance they deserve for a successful future. Yet, the unequal way the state funds charter schools impedes their ability to maximize their potential. Despite the fact they serve the same mission and draw from the same universe of students, charter schools in Georgia are forced to operate with as much as 50 percent less funding than traditional public schools. In addition, locally-approved charter schools receive no state funding for facilities as other public schools do, forcing them to spend their operating funds – money that should be spent in the classroom — on facility costs. Fortunately, our elected leaders have begun to recognize this disparity. Rep. Buzz Brockway (R-Lawrenceville) introduced a bill last month that addresses fairness for charter schools and the students they serve. The proposal was consistent with the recommendations of the Governor’s Education Reform Commission and would have made a significant impact on...

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