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Monday, August 13, 2012 - 12:25pm

Charter School Controversy Heats Up

The controversy over whether the state can fund a charter school over the rejections of a local school board will be decided in November’s election.

Education advocates are split over where state funds should be directed.

The Georgia legislature approved a spending formula this year that gives twice as much state money per student in charter schools than for regular public school students.

Angela Palm, with the Georgia School Board Association, says the equation isn’t fair to public schools:

“That means the state is spending more money on one group of students than another group of students. This really is emblematic of the whole problem.”

Under the new law, local school boards are not obligated to provide any local tax dollars for special schools.

Tony Roberts, with the Georgia Charter Schools Association, says since charter schools don’t benefit from those local funds, the state money closes that gap.

“What the opponents of this funding structure are not telling the public, is that these state charter schools get no local tax dollars. So, the state charter schools aren’t getting more money, they’re getting considerably less, because the local school districts did not want to pay for their students in state charter schools.”

In November, voters will decide whether to approve a state commission that can create more charter schools. The vote won’t affect the funding formula.