ATLANTA – In a stunningly quick and decisive ruling, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Wendy L. Shoob said Friday that charter schools created by the Georgia Charter Schools Commission are constitutional.
(Click here to read the story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.)
Judge Shoob’s ruling came after listening to arguments from seven school districts (Atlanta City and Bulloch, Candler, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb and Gwinnett) that were suing the Commission, the State Department of Education and the State Board of Education, and two schools approved by the Commission – Ivy Preparatory Charter Academy in Norcross and the Charter Conservatory for Liberal Arts and Technology in Statesboro. The districts’ claim that the law which created the Commission – HB881, enacted in 2008 – was unconstitutional was rejected.
In her ruling, Judge Shoob said: “The General Assembly has provided sufficient guidelines. Commission charter schools are not required to be under the control or managed by an elected board of education. The funding is constitutional.”
Georgia Charter Schools Association Chief Executive Officer Tony Roberts said: “Judge Shoob’s ruling is a victory for children and parents throughout Georgia. The plaintiff’s argument boiled down to them not liking the law, and that’s their right. But them not liking it does not make it unconstitutional. It’s a great day for the charter school movement and for everyone who is in favor of having quality public educational choice options for students and parents.”
Georgia House Speaker Pro-Tem Jan Jones (R-Milton), who helped craft HB881, said: “Nothing I have worked on as a representative has brought more personal satisfaction to me than this legislation. It will lead to changed lives for today’s children and a brighter future for our state. Judge Shoob’s ruling fully validates the outstanding team effort that gave life to House Bill 881, including support from members on both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate, Governor, State Department of Education, Georgia Charter School Association and others. Because they appreciated that one size doesn’t fit all in public education, students all over Georgia will have more opportunities to realize their dreams.”
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