More than 175 charter school leaders, parents, teachers, students and advocates took part in GCSA’s Charter School Advocacy Day at the Capitol on Thursday, March 15. Attendees started their day at a breakfast held across from the state Capitol in the Sloppy Floyd Building. During the breakfast, they listened to a special program featuring House Bill 787 Sponsor Scott Hilton, Former State Rep. and Ivy Preparatory Academies Superintendent Alisha Cromartie, Former State Rep. Mike Dudgeon, GCSA President and CEO Tony Roberts and GCSA VP of Policy and Advocacy Andrea Arroyo. During the program, attendees learned how to advocate for their school, how a bill becomes law in Georgia and why House Bill 787 and funding for House Bill 430 are important for Georgia charter schools and students.
Following the program, attendees broke up into small groups and headed across the street to the Georgia Capitol. Once inside, they had the opportunity to directly engage with their elected officials outside the House and Senate chambers. Students, parents and teachers told state lawmakers why they love their charter schools and why their support is needed to approve House Bill 787 and ensure HB 430 is placed into the 2019 state budget. Students visited with lawmakers like Sen. Donzella James (pictured with students below), Sen. Freddie Powell Sims (pictured with students from Pataula Charter Academy above) and Sen. Michael Rhett.
In addition to meeting with state lawmakers, students learned an important civics lesson by observing state Representatives and Senators in the gallery located above the House and Senate chambers. They were also able to view the Georgia Capitol Museum, which focuses on the history of Georgia’s Capitol building and the significant events that have taken place there.
More than 20 schools attended this successful event. They included: International Charter School of Atlanta, KIPP Atlanta Collegiate, the International Academy of Smyrna, Coweta Charter Academy, Ivy Preparatory Academy at Gwinnett, Ivy Preparatory Academy at Kirkwood, Pataula Charter Academy, Brookhaven Innovation Academy, Coastal Empire Montessori School, Centennial Academy, Atlanta Heights Charter School, Charles R. Drew Charter School, Destiny Achievers Academy of Excellence, Fulton Leadership Academy, KIPP STRIVE Primary School, KIPP WAYS Primary School, Latin College Prep Charter School, SLAM Academy of Atlanta, Westside Atlanta Charter School, The Main Street Academy and School for Arts Infused-Learning (SAIL).
House Bill 787 would provide greater funding equity for state-authorized charter schools. If fully funded, House Bill 430 would provide a $100,000 grant for facilities for every charter school in Georgia.