The 2023 legislative session has come to a close. We’re thrilled that for the first time ever—GCSA successfully ensured FULL FUNDING for the State Facility Grant! We were also able to block harmful amendments that would have stripped autonomy and decision-making authority away from charter schools throughout the state.
Despite those wins, however, the legislative clock ran out before our bill could gain full approval this year. But rest assured: this is a delay—not a defeat. Our bill enjoyed broad bi-partisan support in both chambers, and—because Georgia’s legislative sessions operate on two-year cycles, we are simply “paused” until January. (We will start the 2024 session having already passed the Senate. All we need is for the House to agree to an amended version of the bill!)
Every Eligible Charter School Will Receive $100K for Facilities
Thanks to GCSA’s advocacy efforts, state lawmakers approved FULL FUNDING for Georgia’s Charter School Facility Grant. The FY24 budget includes an additional $1.7 million for charter school facilities. That brings Georgia’s Charter School Facility Grant fund up to $9.2 million—which is enough to provide all eligible charter schools a grant award of $100,000 per year.
GCSA Defeats Harmful Amendments
GCSA successfully defended against an amendment to SB 240 that would have banned certain charter schools from TRS (Teacher Retirement System of Georgia) and stripped charter school governing boards of important decision-making authority.
House Bill 318 Vote Delayed Until 2024
Unfortunately, House Bill 318 did not pass THIS YEAR. Despite both chambers approving the bill with overwhelming bipartisan support, HB 318 and many other bills were held up on the final day of the session by political dealmaking related to Senate Bill 233 (the ESA bill). While the bill passed successfully out of the Senate, amendments were added in the final hour of session that required a second approval by the House. Because the bill wasn’t sent to the House until after midnight, the session ended before it could receive a final vote.
However, the GOOD NEWS, as I mentioned earlier, is that we will start the 2023 session in a strong position! Since Georgia has a two-year legislative cycle, HB 318 will pick up NEXT YEAR exactly where it left off.
We’re encouraged by the amount of bipartisan support that our bill received, and we’re grateful for our legislative wins. As always, thank you for your support as we advocate for Georgia’s 60,000 charter school students.
Our deepest appreciation goes to Members of the Georgia House and Senate as well as the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker of the House. A special thanks to our bill sponsor House Rep. Scott Hilton and, as always, to House Speaker Pro-Tem Jan Jones who remains a powerful voice for public education and school choice. We also want to express gratitude to GCSA’s Chief Strategy Officer, Bonnie Holiday, our Board of Directors and the GCSA team for their leadership and advocacy.