By the State Charter Schools Commission
ATLANTA – The State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia (SCSC) announced that it approved petitions for three new state charter schools to open in the 2016-17 school year. The schools are Brookhaven Innovation Academy, Liberty Tech Charter School and Southwest Georgia STEM Charter School.
Brookhaven Innovation Academy will locate in the city of Brookhaven and serve students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. Liberty Tech Charter School will locate in Fayette County and serve students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. Southwest Georgia STEM Charter School will locate in Randolph County and begin serving students in Kindergarten through 9th grade. All of the schools will have statewide attendance zones, meaning the schools will welcome students from any school district to attend and all students in the state will have an equal chance of enrolling in the schools. Governor Nathan Deal weighed in on the approval of the schools.
“I am a strong believer that parents deserve to have a choice in where their children are educated,” said Deal. “The creation of three new charter schools will offer valuable educational alternatives to many more parents and students across Georgia. The State Charter Schools Commission worked diligently to produce this plan, and I anticipate meaningful success for everyone involved.”
Applications for the 2015 petition cycle were submitted to the SCSC in May. The petition review process includes an initial staff review of the petition for general legal compliance and an in-depth panel interview with staff, commissioners, and expert third party reviewers in the fields of finance, education, law and policy. Interview panels make recommendations to SCSC commissioners to approve or deny petitions and commissioners vote upon those recommendations. Commissioners unanimously voted to approve the three petitions.
“Brookhaven Innovation Academy, Liberty Tech Charter School and Southwest Georgia STEM Charter School will provide students in this state with high-quality public choice opportunities in addition to what is provided by their local school districts,” said SCSC Deputy Director Gregg Stevens.
The SCSC received 15 petitions in the 2015 petition cycle. Three of the petitions were ineligible for review due to legal compliance issues, five withdrew their petitions from consideration to further develop their educational plans and strengthen capacity for later petition cycles and the SCSC voted to deny three petitions. One petition is still pending while awaiting action by a local school district.
Since its inception in 2013, the SCSC has authorized 25 state charter schools located throughout the state. 20 schools are currently operational and five are scheduled to open in the 2016-17 school year. More information about the SCSC, current state charter schools and the 2015 petition cycle is available on the SCSC website.
The SCSC is a state-level, independent charter school authorizing entity. The mission of the SCSC is to improve public education by authorizing high quality charter schools that provide students with better educational opportunities than they would otherwise receive in traditional district schools. The SCSC has the power to approve or deny petitions for state charter schools and renew, non-renew, or terminate state charter school petitions in accordance with Georgia law.