SAVANNAH CLASSICAL ACADEMY INVITED TO ATTEND SIGNING OF SENATE BILL 59

SAVANNAH CLASSICAL ACADEMY INVITED TO ATTEND SIGNING OF SENATE BILL 59

SAVANNAH, GA – May 7, 2021 – Savannah Classical Academy’s Director, Barry Lollis was invited to join a small group of leaders in charter school education from across the state of Georgia, to witness the signing into law of Senate Bill 59 (SB 59). Governor Brian Kemp invited Lollis to the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta earlier this week to witness the final stage of SB59 passing into law. This new legislation for the State of Georgia ensures equal provision for students at charter schools as it amends Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated relating to elementary and secondary education.   

Gov. Brian Kemp signed vital charter school legislation on May 4 during a bill signing ceremony held at Kennesaw State University. Senate Bill 59 provides more equitable funding and resources for Georgia’s 70,000 public charter school students. The signing of SB59 into law comes after receiving approval from the Georgia General Assembly during the 2021 legislative session.

The newly signed legislation does the following:

  • SHBP Opt-In Flexibility: Allows state and local charter schools more than one opportunity to opt into the State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP).
  • Funding Weight For Local Charters: Establishes a per pupil funding weight for local charter school students. (3.785% of QBE Base; $106/student starting in FY23 = $3.3M in new state funding)
  • Federal Funding Allocations: Ensures districts allocate a proportionate share of federal funding to local charter schools.

“I was honored to attend this momentous occasion which ensures more funding equity and support for all charter schools in Georgia. There is still work to be done to close the funding gap between traditional schools and charter schools. I am thankful our legislators are working to change that,” said Barry Lollis, Director of Savannah Classical Academy – a K-12 charter school. “I have long been an advocate for the charter school movement and believe that this important legislation recognizes that charter schools are a vital part of public education now and for the future.”

SCA is a tuition-free, public charter school serving Chatham County students in grades K-12. The charter school is funded by the public education system but retains a charter that allows it to operate autonomously under a board of parents and community members. It is the philosophy of SCA that all students benefit from a rigorous, content-rich, education program that develops academic potential and personal character. To learn more about SCA, please visit www.savannahclassicalacademy.org.

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For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at kristyn@lesleyfrancispr.com or 229-393-6457, Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-429-3950, or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377). 

GEORGIA CHARTER SCHOOLS WELCOME PASSING OF SENATE BILL 59

GEORGIA CHARTER SCHOOLS WELCOME PASSING OF SENATE BILL 59

SAVANNAH, GA – April 1, 2021 – Charter schools from across the state of Georgia welcomed the news that Senate Bill 59 (SB 59) was passed by the Georgia General Assembly and will be signed into law by Governor Kemp. SB 59 ensures equal provision for students at charter schools as it amends Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated relating to elementary and secondary education.   

“Yesterday was a champion day for all charter schools,” said Barry Lollis, Director of Savannah Classical Academy – a K-12 charter school. “There is now more equity in funding and support for all charter schools in Georgia. The charter school movement is very much alive in Georgia. Thank you to the Georgia Charter Schools Association and our legislators for advocating and supporting charters with SB 59!”

SCA is a tuition-free, public charter school serving Chatham County students in grades K-12. The charter school is funded by the public education system but retains a charter that allows it to operate autonomously under a board of parents and community members. It is the philosophy of SCA that all students benefit from a rigorous, content-rich, education program that develops academic potential and personal character. To learn more about SCA, please visit www.savannahclassicalacademy.org.

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For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at kristyn@lesleyfrancispr.com or 229-393-6457, Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-429-3950, or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377). 

GEORGIA CHARTER SCHOOLS WIN SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE APPROVAL OF VITAL LEGISLATION

GEORGIA CHARTER SCHOOLS WIN SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE APPROVAL OF VITAL LEGISLATION

SAVANNAH, GA – February 20, 2021 – Leaders in education from across the state of Georgia recently testified in support of Senate Bill 59 (SB 59) to ensure equal provision for students at charter schools. Savannah Classical Academy (SCA) Executive Director, Barry Lollis, testified at this week’s regular session hearing of the Senate Youth and Education Committee in Atlanta. The legislation to amend Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated relating to elementary and secondary education passed through the Senate Youth and Education Committee and will now move on to the Rules Committee.   

The Georgia State Senate Committee on Education and Youth has general jurisdiction over K-12 education, certified employees of schools and school facilities. SB 59 is a crucial charter school bill that

the Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA) is championing along with key legislators, including Sen. John Albers, District 56, who is sponsoring the legislation.  SCA is a charter school within the Savannah Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS), which supports this important bill which addresses:  

  • State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) flexibility
  • The Quality Basic Education Act (QBE)
  • Local charter facility stipends
  • Federal funding allocations

SB 59 would allow charter schools throughout the state of Georgia, multiple opportunities to opt into the SHBP. The act would provide an additional opportunity for existing charter schools to elect to participate in the state health insurance plan for teachers and employees. In addition, certain employees of state charter schools would be included in the definition of “public school employee” for purposes of the health insurance plan for public school employees. According to Lollis, “This will help schools attract and retain high quality teachers, specifically in Georgia charter schools that have majority populations of underprivileged students.”   

To provide additional QBE funding for each full-time equivalent student within a local charter school, Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated is amended by revising Code Section 20-2-165.1 This legislation would extend the existing per pupil funding weight for charter system students to include locally authorized charter school students, which, according to the QBE Act base of 3.785%, is $106 per student.

According to proposed amendments with SB 59, each local board of education would make educational facilities available for use by local charter schools or provide a facility stipend to each local charter school to offset costs related to educational facilities if a facility is not available. SCA is currently located in a lease-owned building, meaning funds needed for facility upkeep is paid for out of the school’s operational budget. In addition, a local charter school would not be charged a rental or leasing fee for an existing facility or property normally used by the public school.

Finally, this bill would require the State Board of Education to provide for direct allocation of appropriated funds to local charter schools. Lollis shared with the committee that SCA has not been included in the ESPLOST program for the past two ESPLOST cycles, and despite specifically asking the local school board to be included in the next ESPLOST, the local public charter schools will not receive an allotment of ESPLOST funds from the upcoming ESPLOST program.

“Districts are earning this capital credits based off students enrolled in our public charter school, however this capital benefit is not shared with the local charter schools,” said Lollis. “Senate Bill 59 would be a great help to local charter schools in order to level the playing field and provide extra opportunities and support for the public-school children we serve in our local communities.”   

SCA is a tuition-free, public charter school serving Chatham County students in grades K-12. The charter school is funded by the public education system but retains a charter that allows it to operate autonomously under a board of parents and community members. It is the philosophy of SCA that all students benefit from a rigorous, content-rich, education program that develops academic potential and personal character. To learn more about SCA, please visit www.savannahclassicalacademy.org.

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For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at kristyn@lesleyfrancispr.com or 229-393-6457, Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-429-3950, or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).