For Immediate Release
May 4, 2021
ATLANTA – Gov. Brian Kemp signed vital charter school legislation today during a bill signing ceremony held at Kennesaw State University. Senate Bill 59 provides more equitable funding and resources for Georgia’s 70,000 public charter school students. The signing of SB 59 into law comes after receiving approval from the Georgia General Assembly during the 2021 legislative session.
Under the newly signed law, 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.
“We’re thankful for Gov. Brian Kemp’s continued commitment to Georgia’s public charter school students,” said Tony Roberts, GCSA President and CEO. “Under the newly signed law, public charter schools are one step closer to receiving the equitable funding and resources they deserve. The new law will also allow a greater number of charter school educators to receive their insurance through Georgia’s state health plan.”
The Georgia Charter Schools Association also wants to thank 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.
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.
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.