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Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 4:47am

11 Charters Get State Approval

The State Board of Education gave the okay this morning for eleven charter schools to remain open. The schools had been at risk of closing since a May state Supreme Court decision overturned the agency that opened them.

Under the court ruling, only charter schools approved by local school boards can receive local tax dollars. So while the state’s sign-off means the schools can open their doors this fall, it also means their budgets will be cut by almost half.

The business director of Patuala Charter Academy, Cheryl Weathersby, says that she' is trying to shield students and classrooms from the cuts. Teachers are taking a pay cut and furlough days. Weathersby says she is also trying to engage the community.

"We already have a fundraiser in place for businesses and family members to sponsor classrooms," Weathersby says. "That’s well underway, and it’s doing really well with people wanting to sponsor their child’s classroom."

Two schools approved today also have the okay from their local boards, which means they’ll be fully funded.

Sixteen schools hoping to serve an estimated 15,000 students were affected by the court’s decision. The state approved two schools earlier this month, and two more are delaying their openings. The board may vote on a final charter next month.