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What is a Charter School? Charter schools are tuition-free, publicly-funded schools that operate independently from the local school system. They are administered through their charter, which states how the school will carry out its mission and sets performance goals. A board of parents and community members oversees the charter school. Like public schools, charter schools have defined attendance zones. Some communities have several charter schools , while others have none. In Georgia, there are two types of charter schools: startup charters, founded by parents, nonprofit organizations or community members; and conversions, former traditional schools that apply for charter status to operate with more independence from local and state boards. A traditional school system also can gain charter status under Georgia law, and convert its schools to charter school status. Conversion charter schools typically operate more like traditional schools than startups. Most startup charter schools are approved first by the local school board and then by the state. If a local school board denies a petition, the state’s soon-to-be-appointed charter schools commission will have the power to override that decision. Previously, Ivy Preparatory Academy charter schools applicants could appeal decisions to the state Department of Education. The new commission also will be able to consider initial applications for charter schools that would have a statewide attendance zone. For charter approval, organizers must show they will offer a different educational experience from a traditional school. Charter schools use the same tax dollars as traditional schools and must serve students with special needs. For a list of charter schools in your neighborhood, see the Georgia Department of Education’s website, gadoe. org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/Charter-Schools/Pages/ Approved-Charter-Schools.aspx. A Lifetime of Learning; A Foundation of Faith Discover MBCA at Open House Rigorous, K-8 preparatory, Christ-centered curriculum • Low student/teacher ratio Servant leadership program • Championship athletic program • Leading edge technology [ Focus on Education ] January 16 at 10 AM January 24 at 10 AM Campus tours offered every Wednesday at 10 AM call: 770-971-0245 visit: go: 4385 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta, Georgia January 2013    Atlanta Parent 53

January 2013

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