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Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 8:41am

Race To Top Money Not For Ga.'s Charters

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a group of charter school advocates that Georgia’s Race to the Top winnings are already reserved for other projects and so cannot be used to help the schools make up budget shortfalls.

But Duncan said he’s met with Governor Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to talk about ways he can help keep the schools open.

"[W]hatever we can do to help the mayor, help the governor get to the right answer, we’re prepared to do that," Duncan says.

But it’s unclear exactly how state and federal education officials can assist the schools. Peter Groff of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools says a state constitutional amendment seems to be the only way to help charter schools rejected by their local districts. Groff says a group of about 40 local and national lawmakers and advocates met Wednesday morning to brainstorm other ways to help.

"If there are opportunities for us to help generate revenue or resources for the schools or for this effort we will certainly do that," he says.

State legislators have indicated that they plan to push for a constitutional amendment, but they are unlikely to take up the question until next year’s session.