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Monday, March 28, 2011 - 1:00am

Charter School Ruling Expected This Week

The state Supreme Court is expected to rule this week on a case that will determine the future of Georgia charter schools.

At issue is whether the General Assembly overstepped its bounds by creating the Georgia Charter Schools Commission in 2008. The commission can approve charter applications that have been rejected by local school districts and divert state funding to the schools it approves.

Seven school districts challenged the commission’s constitutionality, arguing only districts can approve charter schools. They said the state is taking money away from other public schools.

“We contend that the constitution clearly allows the state to not only create these kinds of schools but also to fund them with state tax money in an amount equal to the funds that would be available to students going to any other public school,” said Bruce Brown, an attorney for three charter schools created by the state commission.

A lower court sided with the commission and the charter schools last year.

There are 121 charter schools in Georgia. Most were approved by local districts, but nine operate under the commission.