Georgia Charter Schools Association Membership

Legal Advocacy Fund

The GCSA Legal Advocacy Fund (LAF) was established in 2008 to support legal advocacy on behalf of our member schools.  It provides financial and technical resources to maintain, exercise and assert schools’ legal rights in litigation, legal proceedings and other critical legal matters.

The LAF is maintained and administered by the Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA) for the exclusive benefit of its members.

The LAF has two central objectives — to level the playing field for charter schools in their negotiations, and to ensure that resources are available to assist future charter schools. 

How The Fund Operates
The LAF operates under the guidance of the GCSA Board of Directors and its Legal Advocacy Fund Committee.  The Committee will make policy, consider requests for funds and oversee the financial sustainability of the LAF.  GCSA Staff will assist the LAF Committee in the day-to-day operations of the fund, including soliciting and reviewing requests for assistance and reporting the progress and results of legal advocacy.

The Georgia Charter Schools Association will not directly provide legal counsel or directly engage legal counsel. 

Accessing Support from the Fund
Each member of the Georgia Charter Schools Association is entitled to general technical support by Association staff at no cost.  Legal Advocacy Fund support is available to cover the costs of recurring Association staff work, legal and the professional costs of outside counsel and consultants engaged by the school directly.

[Note: funds from the LAF shall not be requested for work contracted, authorized, or billed to the school prior to the LAF Committee’s action.] 

Any Association member or a new school developer group (who joins the Association prior to making a LAF request) will be eligible to apply for LAF assistance by following these steps:

  • Present a written request to the GCSA Legal Advocacy Committee of no more than two pages which outlines the problem or issue, including:
    • The extent to which this legal action could affect/assist other charter schools
    • The intended course of action
    • The proposed legal counsel
    • An estimated total cost to the school of the legal action (do not quote an hourly rate) 

Each application will be considered on its own merits in light of the goals of the LAF. Factors to be considered will include:

  • Likelihood of success
  • Relevance of issues in the case to other charter schools in Georgia
  • Severity of the issues at stake to the existence of the applicant

Terms of Support to Successful Applicants
A typical LAF grant will be a financial award used as matching funds to help pay the school’s out-of-pocket professional fees as they are incurred, and as compensation for GCSA staff time spent assisting with a case.

Sustainability of the Fund
The LAF is in place for the benefit of member schools and must be replenished so as to be available for future causes.

To ensure the sustainability of the LAF, member schools seeking support from the LAF must:

  • Be members in good standing for at least one school year (or its equivalent)
  • Any lapse of membership of LAF contributions will result in a one-year waiting period before benefits can be accessed
  • When LAF proceeds are used, the GCSA Board of Directors shall set the terms and conditions of usage, including any required repayment to the LAF