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Parent Starts Petition to Restore Charter School Funding

'APS needs to release these funds back to us.'

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
Suzanne Mitchell April 24, 2013 at 12:39 PM
APS needs to put children first and that includes the children in APS Charter Schools!
Chris Anderson April 24, 2013 at 01:19 PM
Truly amazing that they are willing to withhold 6 million dollars from the charter school system to fund unfunded pension liability and threaten the closing of some of the best performing schools in the system!!! Charter schools are a threat to the public school system. They have proven to be much more efficient with our tax dollars. The people in power care more about staying in power than our children.
TMARKS April 24, 2013 at 05:59 PM
Corruption in the school board, and the children have to suffer??? SMH. Charter is the way to go. If not for Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School, I would have moved out of the city of Atlanta.
Rebecca Hudson April 25, 2013 at 10:19 AM
It would be incredibly helpful if the East Atlanta business community who has been such a support to the charters would get active in this campaign. Even if you don't have children please consider signing. Great schools (like Wesley, ANCS, and Drew) keep people here and if they go away the entire community will feel it.

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