2021 Georgia Code
Title 20 - Education
Chapter 2 - Elementary and Secondary Education
Article 31 - Charter Schools Act of 1998
§ 20-2-2062. Definitions
As used in this article, the term:
- "Charter" means a performance based contract between a local board and a charter petitioner, the terms of which are approved by the local board and by the state board in the case of a local charter school, between the state board and a charter petitioner, the terms of which are approved by the state board in the case of a state chartered special school, or between a local board and the state board, the terms of which are approved by the state board in the case of a charter system. By entering into a charter, a charter petitioner and local board shall be deemed to have agreed to be bound to all the provisions of this article as if such terms were set forth in the charter.
(1.1) "Charter attendance zone" means all or any portion of the local school system in which the charter school is located and may include all or any portion of other local school systems if the charter school is jointly authorized pursuant to subsection (c) of Code Section 20-2-2063.
- "Charter petitioner" means a local school, local board of education, private individual, private organization, or state or local public entity that submits or initiates a petition for a charter. The term "charter petitioner" does not include home study programs or schools, sectarian schools, religious schools, private for profit schools, private educational institutions not established, operated, or governed by the State of Georgia, or existing private schools. On and after July 1, 2013, a charter for a local charter school, if approved, shall be a three-party agreement between a charter petitioner, a local board of education, and the State Board of Education, and the charter petitioner for such local charter school shall be a party other than the local board of education.
- "Charter school" means a public school that is operating under the terms of a charter.
(3.1) "Charter system" means a local school system that is operating under the terms of a charter pursuant to Code Section 20-2-2063.2.
- "Conversion charter school" means a charter school that existed as a local school prior to becoming a charter school.
(4.1) "Educationally disadvantaged students" means all or a subset of the following: students who are economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities, limited English proficient students, neglected or delinquent students, and homeless students, as each such subset is defined by the State Board of Education in accordance with federal education guidelines and regulations.
- "Faculty and instructional staff members" means all certificated personnel assigned to the school on a full-time basis and all paraprofessionals assigned to the school on a full-time basis. The term "paraprofessional" shall have the same meaning as set out in Code Section 20-2-204.
(5.1) "Governing council" means a school level council of parents, teachers, administrators, and others who are involved in school level governance within a charter system.
(5.2) "High school cluster" means a high school and all of the middle and elementary schools which contain students who matriculate to such high school. The schools in a high school cluster may include charter schools, local schools, or a combination of both.
- "Local board" means a county or independent board of education exercising control and management of a local school system pursuant to Article VIII, Section V, Paragraph II of the Constitution.
- "Local charter school" means a conversion charter school or start-up charter school that is operating under the terms of a charter between the charter petitioner and the local board.
- "Local revenue" means local taxes budgeted for school purposes in excess of the local five mill share, combined with any applicable equalization grant and budgeted revenues from any of the following: investment earnings, unrestricted donations, and the sale of surplus property; but exclusive of revenue from bonds issued for capital projects, revenue to pay debt service on such bonds and local option sales tax for capital projects. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to prevent a local board from including a local charter school in projects specified in the ballot language of a local option sales tax or bond referendum.
- "Local school" means a public school in Georgia that is under the management and control of a local board.
- "Local school system" means the system of public schools established and maintained by a local board within its limits pursuant to Article VIII, Section V, Paragraph I of the Constitution.
- "Petition" means a proposal to establish a charter school or a charter system.
- "QBE formula earnings" means funds earned for the Quality Basic Education Formula pursuant to Code Section 20-2-161, including the portion of such funds that are calculated as the local five mill share in accordance with Code Section 20-2-164.
(12.1) "School level governance" means decision-making authority in personnel decisions, financial decisions, curriculum and instruction, resource allocation, establishing and monitoring the achievement of school improvement goals, and school operations.
- "Special school" means a school whose creation is authorized pursuant to Article VIII, Section V, Paragraph VII of the Constitution.
- "Start-up charter school" means a charter school that did not exist as a local school prior to becoming a charter school.
- "State board" means the State Board of Education.
- "State chartered special school" means a charter school created as a special school that is operating under the terms of a charter between the charter petitioner and the state board.
- "System charter school" means a school within a charter system.
(Code 1981, §20-2-2062, enacted by Ga. L. 1998, p. 1080, § 3; Ga. L. 2001, p. 148, § 22; Ga. L. 2002, p. 388, § 1; Ga. L. 2005, p. 798, §§ 7, 8/SB 35; Ga. L. 2007, p. 185, § 3/SB 39; Ga. L. 2013, p. 1061, § 24/HB 283; Ga. L. 2014, p. 866, § 20/SB 340; Ga. L. 2015, p. 103, § 3-1/HB 372.)
The 2014 amendment, effective April 29, 2014, part of an Act to revise, modernize, and correct the Code, substituted "Code Section 20-2-2063.2" for "Code Section 20-2-2063.1" at the end of paragraph (3.1).
The 2015 amendment, effective July 1, 2015, added paragraph (4.1).Editor's notes.
- Ga. L. 2007, p. 185, § 1/SB 39, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act shall be known and may be cited as the 'Charter Systems Act.'"
Ga. L. 2007, p. 185, § 2/SB 39, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "The General Assembly finds that schools and school systems should be given high flexibility to tailor their educational programs to meet the unique needs of their communities. In furtherance of this, schools and school systems should be encouraged to use innovative educational programs including local management of schools and should be provided resources to help design and implement innovative programs. The General Assembly further finds that schools and school systems shall be held accountable for student achievement."Law reviews.
- For annual survey on local government law, see 71 Mercer L. Rev. 189 (2019). For note on 2007 amendment of this Code section, see 24 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 121 (2007).
Start-up charter schools funding.
- Pursuant to the plain language of O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2068.1(c), a school system and school board had no authority or discretion to deduct the system's unfunded pension expense of $ 38.6 million from their calculation of local revenue to be distributed to start-up charter schools; the start-up charter schools were entitled to mandamus relief. Atlanta Indep. Sch. Sys. v. Atlanta Neighborhood Charter Sch., 293 Ga. 629, 748 S.E.2d 884 (2013).Charter school's action against school district not barred by immunity.
- By its terms, O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2062(1) incorporated the provisions of the Charter Schools Act, O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2060 et seq., into a charter agreement between a charter school and the county school district; because Ga. Const. 1983, Art. I, Sec. II, Para. IX(c) waived sovereign immunity for contract actions, the charter school's breach of contract action arising out of alleged funding deficiencies was not subject to dismissal. Cobb County Sch. Dist. v. Learning Ctr. Found. of Central Cobb, 348 Ga. App. 66, 821 S.E.2d 127 (2018), cert. denied, No. S19C0442, 2019 Ga. LEXIS 558 (Ga. 2019).