A parent at Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School has started a petition that urges Atlanta Public Schools to restore nearly $3 million in funding that the district is withholding from public charters.
The petition on Change.org — which has 685 signatures already — says by withholding the money, APS threatens to destroy its charter schools and their academic success:
Atlanta Public Schools is withholding $2.8 million from 5,000 students in public charter schools. In a few weeks, they will withhold at least $3 million more. Public charter schools will have lost more than $6 million.
Our charter schools—most of which are among the highest performing schools in Atlanta—could be destroyed if Atlanta Public Schools (APS) continues on this path. One charter school immediately shut their doors last year because of the pension funding issue, and many others may not survive.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Wendy L. Shoob already ruled in December APS violated state funding guidelines as outlined for charter schools by keeping the money.
APS put the money toward its unfunded pension liability obligations, arguing all schools needed to share the burden, even though the charters weren't in existence when those pensions were established.
She ordered it restore the $2.8 million in withheld funds to the affected schools, but APS has appealed her ruling.
"It is incredibly important to me that all charter schools get their funding restored," Grace Burley, who started the petition, told East Atlanta Patch.
"We are all in the budgeting process and by our charters, we must have a balanced budget. So it can't wait. APS needs to release these funds back to us."
The $2.8 million break out as follows:
- Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School: $405,296
- Atlanta Preparatory Academy: $291,068
- Drew Charter: $578,514
- Intown Academy: $190,063
- Kipp: $785,724
- Kipp Strive
- Kipp Ways
- Kipp Vision
- Kindezi: $116,598
- Latin Academy: $51,030
- Wesley International Academy: $398,492