House Bill 318 is scheduled to go before Georgia’s Senate Education and Youth Committee on Tuesday, March 21. Shelly Echols, District 49, is carrying the bill in the Senate after it passed the Georgia House 145 to 17.
HB 318 is a crucial charter school bill championed by the Georgia Charter Schools Association and key state lawmakers. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Scott Hilton, District 48, and addresses four important issues continually flagged by charter schools: Letters of Assurance, administrative withhold fees, local charter school funding, and charter school oversight.
- Shifts the state’s existing Office of Charter School Compliance from the Georgia Department of Education to the State Charter Schools Commission.
- Requires charter school authorizers to itemize and value the services provided to each local charter school in exchange for any administrative fees withheld from the school.
- Clarifies the allowable usage of Letters of Assurance.
- Ensures that local school boards fund charter schools based on actual student enrollment rather than projected enrollment provided that the school has not exceeded the school-wide enrollment cap outlined in its charter contract.
In addition to HB 318, the Georgia House has recommended a total of $9.2 million for Georgia’s Charter School Facility Grant Fund in FY24. That’s a significant increase from last year and would give every eligible charter school in Georgia $100,000 if approved by the Senate! The House’s recommendation comes as a result of the Georgia Charter Schools Association’s advocacy efforts at the Georgia Capitol. Last year, GCSA successfully fought for an additional $3 million in facilities funding and brought the grant fund up to $7.5 million — which provided all eligible charter schools an annual grant award of approximately $75,000 to offset significant facility costs. You can read GCSA’s complete list of 2023 legislative priorities here.