Board Policy: Charter Schools
The Atlanta Board of Education supports student success and school choice by authorizing charter schools that provide innovative, high quality learning opportunities for students who reside in the City of Atlanta. It is the Board’s intent that by authorizing high quality charter schools, the district can learn from innovative and unique programs that advance student achievement.
In keeping with state statutes (O.C.G.A. §20-2-2060 through §20-2-2071) and subsequent legislation, the board may approve a petition from:
- An existing local school in the Atlanta Independent School System to convert to a charter school.
- A Georgia non-profit corporation that submits a petition to establish a local start-up charter school.
- An existing Atlanta Public Schools charter school for a renewal term.
- A district-sponsored start-up charter school.
The petition must contain a detailed plan that demonstrates all of the following information:
- A distinctive element or a unique program that is research-based and standards driven.
- An instructional program that will enable students to meet or exceed state standards for Adequate Yearly Progress pursuant to the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), and charter school performance goals as described in the petition.
- Securing and adhering to accreditation from an agency recognized by the Georgia Student Finance Commission for HOPE (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) scholarship eligibility. This requirement applies only to schools that offer grades 9, 10, 11, and/or 12.
- Financial independence from the school system using state and local funds and a feasible plan to supplement those funds with other funding sources on a yearly basis as required.
- Compliance with all local, state, and federal legal, regulatory and insurance requirements.
- Organizational viability including, but not limited to, action plans for governance, substantive initial and ongoing board training, staff recruitment and retention, student enrollment and attendance, student discipline, safety, appropriate facilities, and insurance.
- Organization and operation of the charter school as a Georgia non-profit entity.
- Evidence of community and parental outreach, involvement and support, such as letters of support from the Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU) in which the charter school shall be located and the neighborhood association(s) active in the area(s) from which the school plans to draw the majority of its students.
- Evidence that the petition is in the public interest.
If the charter petitioner intends to contract or has contracted for the services of another entity to manage the school or any of its operations, this information shall be included in the charter petition, including a copy of the contract. Employees of the charter school or employees of any entity supplying services to the school and immediate relatives (as defined in policy GAG Staff Conflict of Interest) of such employees may not sit on the governing board of the charter school. The charter petitioner may not through any contract abrogate its responsibility as a charter holder or otherwise limit its obligation to be subject to the management and control of the Atlanta Board of Education and the Atlanta Public Schools.
The board shall consider petitions for approval once each calendar year in accordance with state timelines. The board shall approve or deny all properly submitted petitions within ninety (90) days after the petitioner’s submission, unless an extension is requested and granted. After an initial review, applications found to be incomplete will be returned to the petitioner with instructions for resubmission in a subsequent petition cycle if desired.
Petitions that are approved by the board for a conversion, local start-up charter school, district-sponsored start-up, or renewal term will be delivered to the Georgia Department of Education for review by the State Board of Education. Petitioners whose petitions are denied by the board will be provided a written statement of the reasons for denial within sixty (60) days of the board action. A denial of the petition by the board does not preclude the submission to the board of a new or revised petition by the petitioner during a subsequent petition submission cycle.
For each locally approved start-up or renewal petition receiving approval from the State Board of Education, the board and the petitioner will execute a legal agreement to operate the charter school. The agreement will incorporate, but not be limited to, the entire content of the approved petition.
The board may terminate a charter legal agreement if the charter school does not meet one or more of the following requirements during the charter term:
- Offer a distinctive or unique instructional program that is research-based and standards driven.
- Meet or exceed academic performance goals including state standards for Adequate Yearly Progress as required by NCLB and charter school performance goals described in the petition.
- Obtain and maintain appropriate accreditation for HOPE scholarship eligibility (for schools containing grades 9, 10, 11, and/or 12).
- Sustain financial solvency and independence from the school system.
- Comply with all legal, regulatory, and insurance requirements.
- Exhibit documented evidence of organizational viability as proposed in the petition.
- Operate as a Georgia non-profit entity.
- Demonstrate non-discriminatory practices in hiring and enrollment.
- Meet and sustain annual enrollment goals proposed in the petition (within 20 percent). The charter school may not exceed maximum stated enrollment goals.
- Remain in the public interest.
- Comply with all other material terms of the charter legal agreement.
Termination requests originating with the local board will be in accordance with local hearing procedures, State Board of Education rules, and applicable state law.
In accordance with state law, Atlanta Public Schools shall make its unused facilities available to charter schools authorized by the board. The Superintendent shall develop a process for selecting the most appropriate charter school tenant for any unused facility based on a number of selective criteria including, but not limited to:
- Whether or not the charter school currently occupies a facility
- The suitability of the facility for the specific school program
- Evidence of community support, such as letters of support from the Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU) in which the facility is located and the neighborhood association(s) active in the area in which the facility is located.
The terms of the use of such a facility by any charter school shall be subject to negotiation between the district and the local charter school and to approval by the board and shall be memorialized as a separate agreement. A local charter school that is allowed to use such a facility under such an agreement shall not sell or dispose of any interest in such property without the written permission of the board. Charter schools will not be charged a rental or leasing fee for the existing facility or for property normally used by the public school which became the local charter school. A local charter school that receives property from the board may not sell or dispose of such property without the written permission of the board. This provision shall not be construed to supersede the terms of existing contractual agreements.
The superintendent is authorized to develop regulations to implement this policy.
Last Revised: 8/12/2013
Revised: 5/12/2008, 4/19/2010
First Adopted: 11/13/2006
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2062 Charter Schools Act of 1998-Definitions
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2063 Petition to establish a charter school
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2064 Approval or denial of petition
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2065 Charter schools; requirements for operating; control and management
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2066 Charter schools; admission, enrollment, and withdrawal of students
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2067 Charter schools; reprisals by local boards or school system employees prohibited
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2067.1 Amendment of terms of charter for charter school; initial term of charter; annual report
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2068 Termination of a charter
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2068.1 Quality basic education formula applies; grants, local tax revenue, and funds from local bonds
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2068.2 Facilities fund for charter schools; purposes for which funds may be used; upkeep of charter school property; receipt of surplus from b.o.e.
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2069 Responsibilities of State Department of Education Office of Charter School Compliance O.C.G.A. 20-02-2070 S.B.O.E. deadline for reporting to General Assembly the status of the charter school program
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2063.1 Charter Systems - Charter Advisory Committee established; members; duties O.C.G.A. 20-02-2063.2 Charter Systems
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2064.1 Charter Systems - Review of charter by state board; charters for state chartered special schools
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2085 Charter School petition requirements
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2086 Petition from existing charter schools
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2087 Charter Schools access to information
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2088 Charter School annual report
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2089 Charter Schools financial responsibility
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2090 Charter School funding
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2091 Charter School collaborative efforts
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2092 Charter School Promulgation of rules and regulations
O.C.G.A. 48-08-0144 Local charter schools and state chartered special schools as capital outlay project O.C.G.A. 20-02-0084.1 Loss of governance for nonperforming schools
O.C.G.A. 20-02-0880 Plan for public school teachers; definitions
O.C.G.A. 20-02-0910 Plan for public school employees; definitions
O.C.G.A. 20-02-0084.5 Applicability to charter systems
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2080 Charter School Legislative findings
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2081 Charter School definitions
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2082 Georgia Charter Schools Commission
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2083 Charter Schools Commission; powers and duties
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2084 Charter School; application for cosponsorship
O.C.G.A. 20-02-0211.1 Clearance certificates issued by the Professional Standards Commission relating to fingerprint and criminal background checks
O.C.G.A. 20-02-0165.1 Charter system earnings for each full-time equivalent student; use of funds
O.C.G.A. 20-02-2071 Validity of charters in effect on July 1, 1998
Rule 160-4-7-.02 Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
Rule 160-4-9-.04 Charter Schools Definitions
Rule 160-4-9-.05 Charter Schools Petition Process
Rule 160-4-9-.06 Charter Authorizers, Financing and Management