For the Media
Address Communications Inquiries to: Michelle Wirth, Director of Communications
The State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia is a state-level, independent charter school authorizing entity. The commission has the power to approve or deny petitions for commission charter schools and renew, nonrenew, or terminate commission charter school petitions in accordance with Georgia law.
While the Commission’s duties are set forth in law and extend beyond simply authorizing schools, the Commission’s principal obligations include:
- Reviewing charter school petitions for commission charter schools and assisting in the establishment of commission charter schools throughout Georgia;
- Developing and promoting best practices for charter schools and charter school cosponsors in order to ensure that high-quality charter schools are developed and encouraged;
- Promoting high standards of accountability for commission charter schools; and
- Monitoring and annually reviewing the academic and financial performance, including revenues and expenditures, of commission charter schools and holding the schools accountable for their performance pursuant to the charter.
Timeline of Charter School Laws in Georgia
- 1993: Original charter school law is passed. Only existing public schools can convert to charter status. Approval by local and state boards required.
- 1998: Independent start-up charter schools are allowed. Approval by local and state boards required.
- 2008: HB881 creates the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, an alternative charter petition authorizing body.
- 2009: HB555 requires local school systems to allow charter schools located within their jurisdiction to utilize unused educational facilities at no cost to the charter school.
- 2010: Constitutionality of HB881 and the Georgia Charter Schools Commission reaffirmed by Fulton County Superior Court Judge.
- 2011: Georgia Supreme Court overrules lower court, declares Georgia Charter Schools Commission and HB881 unconstitutional, casting severe doubt over the futures of 16 charter schools approved by the Commission and the 15,000 students they serve. Vast majority of Georgia charter schools are largely un-impacted by the Supreme Court ruling.
- 2012: Amendment One passes, November 2012 reinstating the Georgia Charter Schools Commission.
Georgia Charter School Facts
There are 315 charter schools in Georgia. The breakdown is as follows
- 77 start-up charter schools
- 31 conversion schools
- 207 charter system schools
- 16 charter systems
- 13 state-chartered schools
There are 225, 259 students enrolled in charter schools (13.6% of the total student population, and 3.5% excluding charter systems)
- There are 60, 853 students in conversion and start-ups
- 144 of 180 Georgia school districts have students enrolled in a charter school
- Startups represent 26% of all charter types (and 71% excluding charter systems)
- Conversions represent 9% of all charter types (and 29% excluding charter systems)
- Charter systems represent 65% of all charter types
- For the 2014-15 school year, there were an estimate 12,000 students on charter school waiting lists in Georgia
- There are 43.5% White and 34% Black students enrolled in charter schools in Georgia.
- There are 14% Hispanic, 5.4% Asian,0.2% American Indian, and 3% Multi-Racial students enrolled in Georgia’s charter schools.
- For start-ups:
- There are 41% White, 46% Black and 5.6% Hispanic students enrolled in Georgia’s charter schools.