When the International Charter School of Atlanta (ICSAtlanta) purchased their Upper Campus building two years ago to begin offering middle school education, everyone knew that the aging building would need work. The building was given a facelift, but during the last few years, teachers and staff had to carry buckets around the building every time it rained to catch leaks. Since ICSAtlanta is a state-commissioned charter school, it did not receive any dedicated funding for facilities. So, the roof was patched, and leaks continued.
Two years later, thanks in part to a charter facilities grant increase that GCSA successfully advocated for during the last legislative session, ICSAtlanta is finally getting the new roof the school has desperately needed. ICSAtlanta received a little more than $40,000 in charter school facility grant funding to help complete the $300,000 project. The remainder of the funding for the roof project is the result of fiscal conservatism by ICSAtlanta’s Governing Board, fundraising and parent support. The major improvement helps ensure that ICSAtlanta’s dual language immersion (DLI) and International Baccalaureate (IB) education program can be offered to students for many years to come.
ICSAtlanta is not the only charter school to benefit from additional charter facilities grant funding. This year, due to a $2 million charter facilities grant increase along with an existing $1.5 million in existing charter school grants funding, most Georgia charter schools will receive approximately $40,000 in facilities funding. The additional funding allocated for charter-school facilities comes after the 2017 passage of HB 430, which provided for the creation of a charter school facility grant fund. The goal of HB 430 was and is to provide non-competitive annual facility grants to all eligible charter schools.
To be eligible for the FY 2020 charter facilities grant program provided through the Georgia Department of Education, ICSAtlanta and other Georgia charter schools are required to submit an annual audit report. They also have to own their school building or have a facility lease with terms of three years or longer.
Georgia Charter Schools Association wants to share more stories and videos about how member schools are spending their charter facilities grant funding. If you have a story or video to share, please contact Michelle Wirth, GCSA’s Director of Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-835-8903.