Gov. Nathan Deal today signed into law legislation that will provide additional educational opportunities for Georgia students through state charter schools. The bill, HB 797, was signed at Cherokee Charter Academy in Canton.
"By observing high-performing charter schools throughout Georgia, it's clear these institutions promote competition, innovation and creativity while encouraging strong parental involvement," said Deal. "We must empower citizens with public school options and true local flexibility if we want to improve student achievement."
HB 797 creates a state level approval mechanism for charter schools when communities request them. Under current law, charter schools approved by the state are forced to operate on approximately half of the funds of other public schools. HB 797 sets forth a new funding mechanism for these schools and establishes a State Charter Schools Commission to conduct the review process for charter school petitions and ensure that charter schools are consistent with state educational goals. Moreover, the bill spells out how HR 1162 would be implemented if Georgia voters approve the constitutional amendment in November, an amendment that has the governor's full support.
"Georgia's parents want more options, and it is my duty as governor to see that they have them. These schools help students trapped in underperforming schools and aid communities that want to invest in new and imaginative ways of learning for their children.
"Approving this amendment will restore the process for creating state-charted schools that existed before the state Supreme Court struck down the state's system for granting charters. I am confident Georgia voters will take advantage of the opportunity this fall to support charter schools in our state."
At the bill signing ceremony, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools presented Deal with the Champion for Charters Award for supporting high-quality public charter schools. Annually, the Champions for Charters awards recognize public officials for leading a major public charter issue or initiative, serving as a highly visible public charter school advocate, and consistently supporting charters as a high-quality public school choice option.