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Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - 12:28pm

Charter Schools Deadline Is Friday

Backers of would-be charter schools have until Friday to get in their petitions to a new state commission.

Voters approved the panel last year to give charter school advocates a way around local school boards.

Local education officials across the state will find out Friday which school backers are taking their cases to the State Charter Schools Commission.

The appointed panel will hear petitions from people who want to create their own taxpayer-funded schools without the support of the local school officials who set the taxes.

Commission director Bonnie Holliday says she has no idea how many will apply.

"Based on the inquiries we've gotten, I would expect maybe 25 or so," Holliday says. "But that's a real guess because we did not require a letter of intent."

Petitioners have to submit a raft of documents, including information about governance and finances.

"This is the first year for the State Charter Schools Commission," Holliday says. "Of course, there was a previous iteration of the Commission and they received petitions. And our process is very similar to that of the previous commission."

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled the previous commission unconstitutional.

Georgia voters approved the current panel in a state constitutional amendment vote last year.

Commission supporters say the process gives parents and students more choice in education.

But its detractors say it intrudes into local control.

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