Last Friday, Rep. Buzz Brockway, R-Lawrenceville, filed House Bill 430, a charter school equity and charter authorizer accountability bill incorporating the charter school recommendations coming out of the 2015 Education Reform Commission. The bill attempts to address numerous charter school funding equity and facility equity issues while requiring charter school authorizers to address authorizer concerns by requiring a baseline of standards by which all authorizers must live up to or risk consequences.
House Bill 430 attempts to to implement recommendations from the Governor’s Education Reform Commission with respect to charter schools. If approved, the current version of the bill would:
- Increase the current state facilities grant to provide charter schools for an annual grant disbursement of “$100,000 or such other amount as determined by the state board” to address day to day facility operations.
- Provide for allotment sheets for charter schools in conjunction with allotment sheets for local boards of education. This needed action will help bring needed funding transparency for Georgia’s charter schools. Most locally approved charter schools are not currently provided an allotment sheet to compare directly with their district’s allotment sheet.
- Lead to the establishment of a code of principles and standards of charter school authorizing to set a baseline minimum standard by which all charter school authorizers must abide by or risk penalties.
- Update funding for state approved charter schools to provide for needed student funding equity for Charter Commission schools.
- Better define the term “unused” district facility and provide for a third party mediator when there is a disagreement between a charter school or petitioner and a local board on whether a facility is unused or not.
- Clarify existing law to provide for termination or non-renewal of charters for charter schools that perform in the bottom quartile of their district and the state on state-wide student performance tests for three consecutive years unless extenuating conditions can be provided.
“Charter leaders across the state applaud Representative Brockway’s continuous support for charter schools and the equity the schools and their students deserve,” said GCSA President and CEO Tony Roberts. “We are all hopeful the House Education Committee will take this bill up and pass these needed changes to Georgia’s charter school law.”
A hearing on House Bill 430 could come soon.