Dear Families, 

As many of you know, The Museum School and six other charter schools filed suit against the DeKalb County School District as a result of the District’s failure to properly fund its charter schools.  There has been an important development in the case.  Please see the  press release below for additional information.

Thank you for your support.

Kelly Swinks, DVM
Board Chair

Katherine Kelbaugh, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Funding Lawsuit Takes a Positive Turn for DeKalb Charter Schools

Seven DeKalb County public charter schools won a crucial victory in Fulton County
Superior Court this week. On October 20, 2022, Fulton County Superior Court Judge
Jerry Baxter issued a summary judgment ruling in favor on all but one of the claims
brought by DeKalb Agriculture Technology & Environment, DeKalb Preparatory
Academy, Leadership Preparatory Academy, DeKalb PATH Academy, Tapestry Public Charter School, The GLOBE Academy, and The Museum School of Avondale Estates. Judge Baxter found, as a matter of law, that the charter schools were entitled to recover their damages on each of these claims, which all involved underfunding by the DeKalb County School District.  These claims include (1) not funding the Charter Schools at or above the minimum funding set forth in their charters; (2) not providing the Charter School’s proportionate share of the state austerity funds restored in the state budget; (3) improperly withholding funds at the charter schools’ academic year midterm; (4) not providing the charter schools’ their proportionate share of federal funds, specifically for teacher development and special needs students; and (5) improperly withholding 3% of the charter schools’ funding for an “administrative fee” without providing actual administrative services.  The damages for each of these claims vary, but some, including the administrative fee claim, span 6 years. In total, the charter schools’ claims
exceed $10.0 million in funding that the DeKalb County School District wrongfully
“This ruling, which is the result of litigation that has spanned two prior administrations in DeKalb County Schools, validates our belief that we have not been treated equitably,” said Devon Christopher, a Board Member at Tapestry Public Charter School.  “We continue to hope that we can grow our partnership with DeKalb and avoid having to resolve these matters in court.” 

Museum School Executive Director Katherine Kelbaugh, whose school recently went through a contentious charter renewal, expressed similar optimism about the future for charters in DeKalb: “We believe that each of these charter schools offers a unique and necessary educational option for students and families in our county. This ruling helps us protect our limited resources and ensures charters will receive adequate funding from the district now and in the future.”   

This key court victory reaffirms that Georgia’s 60,000 charter school students are public school students and are protected under state law. Charter schools are public schools that are entitled to equitable funding from local school boards.
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