For Immediate Release
March 31, 2021
ATLANTA – The Georgia General Assembly delivered a major win for Georgia charter schools today. Senate Bill 59, a crucial charter school bill that that provides more equitable funding and resources for Georgia’s 70,000 public charter school students, passed the Senate 40 to 11 and the House 113 to 51.
Under the newly approved legislation, students enrolled in Georgia’s locally-approved public charter schools will receive a dedicated funding weight that increases school allocations by approximately $100 per pupil. Additionally, SB 59 ensures that school districts provide locally-approved charter schools their proportionate share of federal funding. The bill also eliminates an important staff recruitment and retention issue by allowing charter schools multiple opportunities to opt into the State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP). Previously, state and local charter schools had only one chance to sign up for the SHBP during their first year of operation.
The Georgia Charter Schools Association thanks Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, Sen. John Albers, SB 59 sponsor; Representative Todd Jones, House sponsor; and House Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones for continuing to ensure that Georgia students of all backgrounds have access to high-quality and equitable educational options. We also appreciate House Speaker David Ralston’s leadership and the bipartisan group of lawmakers who approved this important bill for Georgia’s charter schools.
“We’re grateful that state lawmakers continue to recognize the important role that charter schools play in Georgia’s public school system,” said Tony Roberts, GCSA President and CEO. “The COVID-19 crisis has further highlighted how the flexibility afforded to Georgia charters in exchange for accountability allows these schools to rapidly and effectively meet the needs of students and their families.”
The Georgia General Assembly approved the following changes to state law under SB 59:
State Health Benefit Plan Opt-In Flexibility
- Allows state and local charter schools more than one opportunity to opt into the State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP).
Funding Weight For Local Charters
- Establishes a per-pupil funding weight for local charter school students. (3.785% of QBE Base; $106/student starting in FY23)
Federal Funding Allocations
- Ensures districts allocate a proportionate share of federal funding to local charter schools.
State lawmakers also approved an additional $1 million in funding for charter school facilities in the state’s FY22 budget. SB 59 now heads to Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk for his approval.
About Georgia Charter Schools Association
The Georgia Charter Schools Association is a nonprofit membership organization for Georgia’s public charter schools and petitioners. Our mission is to advocate for, foster and support autonomous, high-quality charter public schools and networks throughout Georgia. We believe every child in Georgia should have equal access to a high-quality, transformative public education.
CONTACT: Michelle Wirth
Director of Communications
Georgia Charter Schools Association