Superintendent urges board to turn down new charter schools

by: Rachel Stockman Updated:

ATLANTA - Just a week into the new school year some Atlanta parents are gearing up for a fight over charter schools.

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis has recommended that the school board vote against all new charter school applications because of on-going unfunded pension concerns. 

Some parents in support of new charter school applications are taking to email and phones to persuade board members to reject the superintendent’s stance.

“Regardless of whether or not a petition receives a positive or negative review from the charter review panel, recommendation for approval of any petition cannot be given, now or in the future, due to the still-unresolved court case regarding Unfunded Pension Liability payments,” Davis wrote to school board members.

“Right now, this financial burden is carried entirely by traditional schools. Until this court case is resolved, charter schools and traditional schools will continue to be funded at a markedly different rate that will only increase over time.

"In good conscience, I cannot recommend increasing the financial burden on traditional school students in order to create new schools that will not pay their share,” Davis wrote.

However, parents who support two charter schools, Atlanta Classical Academy and Hinds Feet Montessori School of the Arts Charter Schools, are launching an aggressive campaign to persuade school board members to reject the superintendent’s decision.  Both of the schools’ applications are up for vote on Monday.

“Part of it’s personal. We have three school age kids. Part of its principal, we believe in school choice,” parent Alan Hamilton told Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman.

“I think closing the doors for charter schools is not something positive, especially for a thriving education environment like Atlanta,” Morgan Hamilton said.
Morgan Hamilton sits on the board of Atlanta Classical Academy, and hopes to open up as a charter school option in northwest Atlanta.

Board members have been working years to open up and last ditch efforts took place over the weekend through emails blasts and phone calls.
“Phone calls, emails, letters, anything that we can do to let them hear our voices in a short period,” Hamilton said.
In a statement to Channel 2 Action News, Superintendent Erroll Davis wrote:
“I have to think about all students, which includes both charter and traditional students.  I am working to eliminate the inequities that currently exist.  Charter schools are APS schools; therefore, soon they will have access to the same professional development, teacher resources and internet-based services as our teachers at traditional schools.  In the same spirit, as we work to spread assets more equitably, we need to make sure the liabilities are also equitably spread.”

Channel 2 Action News

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