Charter School Case Goes Before Supreme Court

6,000 students wait to see what will happen to their schools.

Bowers argued that commission-authorized charter schools are not special schools allowed under the Georgia Constitution because they did not exist when it was written.

“ ‘Special schools’ means today what it meant in 1982 … schools for the deaf, blind and people of that nature,” he told the court. “It cannot mean anything else.”

Attorneys for school districts of Atlanta, Griffin and Bulloch, Candler, DeKalb and Henry counties also argued that money flowing to charter schools are local dollars. Commission-approved charters receive federal and state dollars. A point of contention is the local matching funds they also get, which come from state allocations to the school districts that lose students to the charter schools.

Thomas Cox, who represented Atlanta and DeKalb, told the court: “Local money may not follow the child to a Georgia state special school.”

The justices peppered both sides with questions.

Justice David E. Nahmias asked Cox: “So do any of the local tax dollars directly flow to charter schools?” Cox responded, “There is no direct flow.”

Prediction time: Who will win this Court battle? Who should win?


  1. KingWulfgar says:

    That’s the worst legal argument I’ve ever heard. So, is freedom of speech and the press restricted to only forms of media that existed in the 1700’s?

    • analogkid says:

      I’m not an attorney, but I think the argument is that the definition hasn’t changed, meaning that a brand new school for the deaf or blind would be permissible, but a new school that is for someone other than the deaf or blind would not be.

      Sounds like it turns on the definition of “special school.” I will peruse the OCGA when I get a moment.

  2. John Konop says:

    One problem I see with the Charter debate is if the school fails the local district is liable for it from my understanding. If this is true than only a local district should have approval authority of starting a new charter school, if you do not like the approval method of your school board vote them out.

    The state and federal government assigning liabilities to communities is one of the reason we have this financial mess. The constitution does not guarantee the correct decision it was designed to give you a vote if you do not like the results.

  3. Steve says:

    Let me get this straight:

    (1) The more-or-less “liberal” side is basing its legal argument on strict originalism in constitutional interpretation.

    (2) The more-or-less “conservative” side is arguing that a constitution is a “living document”, to be interpreted in the context of the present day.

    Let me grab my popcorn! The blog comments on this one should be a hoot.

  4. Kellie says:

    Gainesville City Schools is a Charter System; all 7 school are charter. I really don’t see a difference from when they were all public schools except for the fact that the city taxpayers have even less input.

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