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Date Posted: 09:38:18 09/17/09 Thu
Author: Larry
Subject: I’ll take the combo
In reply to: jim 's message, "Re: Court documents for GCPS charter school lawsuit on main page" on 08:56:55 09/16/09 Wed

I think Bowers has good, or at least very viable, arguments for deep sixing the Georgia Charter School Commission and the last round of charter school legislation. If Baker comes to this conclusion, and I think he will, he isn’t going to let the court decide anything.

Keep in mind how this all started.

The first year, GCPS and Ivy Prep both received QBE funding, the calculations for which are carved in stone by the state legislature. There was no squawking that year; Alvin was happy (or at least not visibly unhappy), Ivy Prep was happy and the Money Follows The Student crowd was happy.

This year, the Charter Commission approved additional funding for Ivy Prep under OCGA 20-2-290, which is based on a “proportional share of the local revenue from the local school system” – in this case about $300,000. The problem is, the law says this money comes from “state and federal funds.” Since the state has no money to fund this, what they did was deduct this amount from GCPS’ QBE funding, so GCPS received less than the legally required QBE amount. At this point, we had liftoff.

After a page of relief statements asking that a bunch of stuff be declared unconstitutional, Bowers gave the state a way out in the complaint’s paragraph G:

In the alternative to the injunctive relief described above, an injunction barring Defendants from funding Ivy Preparatory Academy at a disproportionate rate, and directing Defendants to restore to Plaintiff the difference between what Ivy Preparatory Academy currently receives from the state and what Ivy Preparatory Academy should have received under QBE formula earnings;

In other words, the state can make this all go away by cutting GCPS a check for $300,000 – which is something they will almost certainly have to do under any circumstances.

As you pointed out, a consent agreement wouldn’t give anything constitutional validation, but other GA schools systems will almost certainly follow Gwinnett’s lead and the state will never have defend the Charter Commission’s constitutionality in court.

I’m betting Baker snaps this up like a Hooter’s gift card and the case will never be argued in court.

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