Georgia Supreme Court Overturns Charter-Schools Law

May 17, 2011  |  

(AP) — A Georgia law that cleared the way for a wave of new state-approved charter schools was struck down Monday by the state’s divided top court in a landmark decision that has left thousands of students and parents under a cloud of uncertainty.  The Georgia Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision overturned the law creating the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, which allowed the state to approve and fund charter schools over the objection of local school boards. The decision promises to reshape how public schools are funded by concluding that only local boards of education have the power to open and pay for public schools.  “We do not in any manner denigrate the goals and aspirations that these efforts reflect. The goals are laudable,” wrote Chief Justice Carol Hunstein. “The method used to attain those goals, however, is clearly and palpably unconstitutional.”  The decision does not affect the 65,000 students attending charter schools approved by their local school district, but left unclear is the fate of 16 charter schools approved by the commission. About 5,000 students are now enrolled in the schools, which are scattered across the state, and they are designed to eventually serve about 15,000 students.

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