ATLANTA, GA January 11, 2012 – The Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA), speaking on behalf of Georgia charter schools and the thousands of students they serve, applauds Governor Nathan Deal for his continuing support of educational innovation and public charter schools.
In his second annual State of the State address last night, Governor Deal announced that to “spur innovation,” he has budgeted $8.7 million in supplemental grants to assist state chartered special schools affected by the May 2011 Georgia Supreme Court ruling on charter schools. Without these additional dollars, these charter schools would only receive about half of the funding they need to operate. This allocation follows up on an earlier emergency allocation made by the Governor immediately following the closure of the Georgia Charter Schools Commission.
GCSA’s President and CEO, Dr. Tony Roberts, summarized the sentiments shared by the charter school community: “We greatly appreciate our Governor and his commitment to seeing that the children of Georgia all receive the best education possible. We are also thankful that the Governor recognizes the importance of educational innovation which is being ignited, in large measure, by charter schools in Georgia. Without his lifeline support, many of our successful charter schools would be forced to close displacing thousands of children who have been thriving in them.”
For one southwest Atlanta charter school, the news was a welcome relief. Principal Melissa Jones-Clark said, “Continuing funding for Atlanta Heights Charter School means that being a child with impoverished circumstances is not a fatal destiny. It will give our kids the promise that Governor Deal really believes in innovative public school options for our students and families.”
Equally encouraging for Georgia charter schools is the Governor’s commitment to a “long term solution” to the problems created for charter schools by the reduced funding following the Supreme Court decision of May 2011. Governor Deal was emphatic: “I look forward to working with you (the legislature) to ensure that charter schools can thrive in Georgia. We can do this and with your help we will,” Deal said.
Kylie Holley who leads Pataula Charter Academy in rural southwest Georgia, is thrilled by the news. After watching the Governor’s address on television last evening she said, “We are grateful that the Governor recognizes the importance of the former Commission schools remaining fiscally sound. Without this supplemental funding we could not continue to successfully carry out the mission of our school and provide an educational option for the parents in our five-county attendance zone. We understand that this is a temporary solution. We are optimistic that the General Assembly and citizens of Georgia share the Governor’s vision in making Georgia a national leader in innovative education, by passing a Constitutional amendment in favor of charter schools.”
“During a time in which there continue to be so many uncertainties for charter schools in Georgia,” said Roberts, “our Governor has given hope and encouragement to thousands of children and their parents who have found charter schools their best option for a public education. We trust that the Legislature will also continue their strong support and follow our Governor’s lead on these issues.”
Nina Rubin – Media Relations
Georgia Charter Schools Association
600 W. Peachtree Street, Suite 1555
Atlanta, GA 30309
Follow us @GAChartersRock