(The Center Square) — More Georgia students are attending charter schools, while enrollment at public schools is declining, according to a new report.
New figures from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools show that Georgia experienced a roughly 4.9% increase in charter enrollments between 2019-20 and 2021-22. Meanwhile, traditional public schools saw a roughly 1.9% decline in enrollments during the same period.
“Public education is about ensuring students and parents have access to quality education,” Buzz Brockway, executive vice president of public policy for the Georgia Center for Opportunity, said in a statement.
“As parents exercise their rights and choose the schools that best meet the needs of their child, it is imperative that leadership in the state and country respond with legislation that supports and does not hinder the needs of students and parents,” Brockway added. “The pandemic changed everything and policymakers must respond.”
GCO pointed to a national NAPCS survey that found nearly 20% of parents switched the type of school their child attended in the 2020-22 period amid the pandemic.
Earlier this year, Georgia lawmakers signed off on House Bill 1215, legislation proponents said ensures locally-approved charter schools receive a portion of tax revenue from local school districts. The bill also allows students to withdraw from a local school in the school system and enroll in a charter school without any penalty.
In October, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter ruled in favor of seven DeKalb County public charter schools in a dispute with DeKalb County schools over funding. The schools argued that school board members breached charter contracts by withholding funding the charter schools said they were entitled to receive.
Charter school officials said the damages exceeded $10 million.
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor