All Georgia kids deserve access to high-quality public-school options.

The pandemic exposed how a one-size-fits all public-school system does not work for every student and family. Charter schools offer a different approach to public school, one that gives passionate teachers the flexibility to teach creatively and deliver the individualized education every student deserves, preparing them to succeed in college, career and life. Because all Georgia kids, regardless of zip code, race, ethnicity, income or ability deserve access to high-quality public-school options that best meet their needs and help them reach their full potential.

Until every child has the chance to attend a high-quality public-school that works for them, we need more educational options. Public charter schools give families that opportunity.

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Georgia Public Charter Schools by the Numbers

Georgia's public charter schools are popular across the state and are the first choice of many families.

Number of Charter Schools
Number of Charter Students
Number of Waitlisted Students
Special Education Population
English Language Learning Population

Georgia Public Charter Schools by the Numbers

Words from the Community

“From Suffering to Soaring”

“Because of my autism, previous schools that I attended isolated me from others in the classroom and worked to keep me under control, and I suffered for it,” said Robert Christopher, a senior at Tapestry Public Charter School. “Tapestry’s approach is the opposite, focusing on integration into the classroom and providing me with the support I need to thrive. In part, because of Tapestry, I have now been accepted to Georgia Tech, and I’m of the opinion that I would not have had the chance had I been placed into a traditional middle/high school.”

Robert Christopher
Tapestry public charter school graduate

“Onto the Next Level”

“Baconton Community Charter School has helped me build the confidence I need to move to the next level upon graduation. I feel I am prepared to enter college and be successful. I’m thankful for the opportunities and choices I have been given to expand and grow as a person as well as a student.”

Rebecca Juarez
baconton Community Charter School graduate

“Fulfilling my Future Ambitions”

“Attending Pataula Charter Academy greatly assisted me in fulfilling my future ambitions through reinforcing qualities such as leadership, perseverance, and integrity.”

Brian Thorton II
2021 Pataula Charter Academy Graduate & Fisk University Student
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Charter School FAQ's

What is a charter school?

Charter schools are tuition-free, public and open to all students. As autonomous public schools, charters agree to greater accountability in exchange for increased flexibility. Public charter schools offer greater personal attention and give students from all backgrounds the opportunity to attend a school that works best for them. A nonprofit volunteer board of directors oversees all Georgia charter schools.

The “charter” establishing each school is a contract detailing the school’s mission, program, goals, students served, methods of assessment and ways to measure success. Charter schools can be closed if they do not fulfill the high standards established in their contracts with a charter school authorizer.

Who authorizes charter schools?

In Georgia, the authorizer is generally the local school district. Schools that are denied a charter by their local school district may seek authorization through the State Charter Schools Commission (SCSC).

Charters are generally granted for five years, but they can also be shorter. At the end of the term, the authorizer may renew the school’s contract. Charter schools are accountable to their authorizer, as well as to the students and families they serve. Charter schools are required to produce positive academic results and adhere to the charter contract in order to remain open. Charter schools must also follow state and federal public school laws.

How are charter schools held academically accountable?

Charter schools are held accountable academically and financially through their contracts with state and local authorizers. The contract lays out the academic performance goals a charter school must meet in order to fulfill the terms of its charter.

Are there admissions requirements?

According to the Georgia Department of Education, the admissions process for charter schools in Georgia is as follows:

1) Those who want to enroll in charter school must submit an application. The application can require contact information, residency and grade level. The application cannot include any information that screens applications like previous test data, recommendation letters, gender, race or which language the student speaks at home.

2) Charter schools must have the same open enrollment and admission standards as traditional public schools. With the exception of legally allowable admission enrollment preferences, charter schools cannot select their students nor deny admission to any applicant as long as there is room for the student within the school’s capacity.

The legally allowable enrollment preferences are as follows:

a) Startup Charter Schools – siblings of an enrolled student in another local school designated in the charter; a student whose parent or guardian is a member of the governing board of the charter school or is a full time teacher, professional, or other employee at the charter school; and students matriculating from a local school designated in the charter.

b) Conversion Charter Schools – may legally allow enrollment preferences for: a sibling of a student enrolled in the charter school or in any school in the high school cluster; a student whose parent or guardian is a member of the governing board of the charter school or is a full time teacher, professional, or other employee at the charter school; students who were enrolled in the local school before it became a charter; students who reside in the charter attendance zone specified in the charter.

c) State-Chartered Special Schools – may give enrollment preferences to a student whose parent is a full time teacher, professional, or other employee at the charter school or to a student currently enrolled in a state chartered special school or a sibling of a student currently enrolled in a state-chartered special school.

To read more about charter school enrollment see SBOE Rule 160-5-1-.28

What are charter school lotteries?

A charter school is required to conduct a lottery when there are more applicants then there are seats available in the school.  The school must conduct the lottery through random selection. Schools have to make the results of the lottery public.

Do charters accept students with special needs?

Yes. charter schools are required to accept students with special needs. According to the Georgia Department of Education, they must comply with IDEA and section 504.

Download our Legislative Packet

Learn more about Georgia's public charter schools by downloading GCSA's legislative packet today.

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