Georgia Senate Approves Additional Facilities Funding for Charters
A state budget proposal that would provide a significant funding boost for charter school facilities is nearly at the finish line. Thanks to GCSA’s successful advocacy efforts, the Georgia Senate approved a budget that includes the addition of $3 million new dollars to the Charter School Facility Grant fund. This brings the grant fund total up to $7.5 million—which is enough to provide all eligible charter schools a grant award of $75,000 in FY23 to help offset facility costs. This represents an increase of $25,000 over last year’s per school grant awards. A recently passed House version of the budget contained the same facilities funding increase.
House and Senate leaders are currently working to finalize the full state budget in a conference committee. The budget will return to both legislative chambers for a final vote on or before Sine Die, the final day of the 2022 legislative session. This year’s session ends on Monday, April 4.
Georgia’s Senate Education & Youth Committee Passes 2022 Charter Bill
The 2022 charter bill championed by GCSA is one step closer to gaining final approval. House Bill 1215 passed Georgia’s Senate Education and Youth Committee unanimously with one abstention on Monday, March 30. Senators who voted with one abstention. The bill is now under consideration by the Senate Rules Committee before it can advance to the Senate floor for a vote.
House Bill 1215 is sponsored by state Rep. Brad Thomas. The charter legislation does four things:
1) it refines the state’s charter school definition to better distinguish charter schools from charter systems, College and Career Academies and other school choice models in the state;
2) it prevents local districts from prohibiting students from transferring to charter schools during the school year;
3) it closes a loophole in the funding calculation for local charter schools by basing funding on collected (versus budgeted) local revenue.
4) it removes the performance audit requirement for virtual state charter schools.