MARCH 29, 2018
Members of the Georgia General Assembly overwhelmingly approve HB 787 on the last day of the legislative session
ATLANTA, GA – On Thursday, March 29, the Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 787, legislation that will provide additional funding for state-authorized charter schools and that mandates “forward funding” for growth of all startup charter schools. The newly approved bill will put state charter schools on the path toward more equitable funding. Currently, state-authorized charter schools are funded at least 20 percent below traditional schools.
“We are especially grateful to sponsors in the House: Rep. Scott Hilton (R-95), House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones (R-47), Chairman Brooks Coleman (R-97), Rep. Randy Nix (R-69), Rep. Robert Dickey (R-140), Rep. Valencia Stovall (D-74) and in the Senate: Lt Gov. Casey Cagle and bill sponsor Sen. Fran Millar (R-40).
We thank our coalition partners: American Federation for Children, ExcelInEd, GeorgiaCAN, and Georgia Chamber of Commerce.
Our gratitude also goes to the Georgia Department of Education, especially Lou Erste and the State Charter Schools Commission, including Bonnie Holliday and Gregg Stevens.
This bill does not achieve full funding equity, but it is a significant step forward for Georgia students who are enrolled in a state charter school.” said Tony Roberts, President and CEO of Georgia Charter Schools Association. “This bill will help ensure that students and families who chose a public charter school because it best meets the needs of their children will not be financially penalized. Georgia’s public charter school students deserve funding that is on par with students who attend traditional schools in our state.”
HB 787 includes provisions that will:
- Increase the ‘state supplement’ funding provided to state charter schools and increased capital funding based on community factors.
- Provide ‘forward funding’ to all start-up charter schools to help cover the cost of enrollment growth.
- Ensure that state charter schools are eligible for Regional Education Service Agency (RESA) services and membership.
- Provide a portion of capital funding to virtual schools to assist with technology costs.
“The additional funding provided by HB 787 will help ICSAtlanta thrive and continue to improve the way we serve our students,” said ICSAtlanta parent and Board Member Paige Stoecker. “It will allow us to make teacher salaries more competitive with surrounding districts; it will help us to purchase curriculum to support language immersion, the International Baccalaureate Programme, and innovative educational programming; and it will allow us to maintain and improve our facilities.
I feel strongly about this bill personally because the additional funding will benefit my children, Rachael and Keely, who are not just learning languages at ICSAlanta. They are being exposed to people and experiences that will help them develop into global citizens. They will be compassionate, lifelong learners who are committed to improving our world.”
House Bill 787 will be sent to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature. In the past, Gov. Deal has been extremely supportive of legislation to benefit Georgia charter schools. Georgia Charter Schools Association calls on the governor to continue his commitment to public charter schools by signing this crucial bill for Georgia’s children. Currently, more than 33,000 Georgia students are enrolled in a state-authorized charter school.
“I want to thank the Georgia General Assembly for recognizing that the education of state charter school students is as important as every other student in the state of Georgia,” said Gene Dunn, principal of Coweta Charter Academy. “This funding increase is critical for our students and the 1,000 plus members of the Coweta Charter community. It will allow us to hire additional personnel for academic support and provide needed resources to expand our instructional program. It will also help us retain quality teachers who deserve to be rewarded for the excellent work they are doing in the classroom.”
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