"By observing high-performing charter schools throughout Georgia, it's clear these institutions promote competition, innovation and creativity while encouraging strong parental involvement," Deal was quoted saying by the Associated Press. "We must empower citizens with public school options and true local flexibility if we want to improve student achievement."
Alternately, Cartersville City Schools is considered to be a charter system, which Assistant Superintendent Ken Clouse has explained is a public school system that operates under a charter or contract approved by the district's school board and the state Board of Education, with the agreement allowing the system greater flexibility in various areas as long as it can maintain student performance-based objectives.
The county currently is taking steps to have a charter approved for its College and Career Academy, slated to open in 2013.
"What Nathan Deal has signed is different than [the BCCCA charter]," Director of Curriculum and Testing Paul Sabin said. "The charter we're looking at is a program charter that will have to have the approval of both the local school board and the state school board."
Sabin said the academy's Needs Assessment Committee has finished collecting results of its survey sent to businesses asking for their input on the future curriculum of the school, which will be an extension of a student's school of origin. In other words, a Woodland High School student who attends the academy would acquire a WHS diploma at graduation.
"What the charter would allow us to do is possibly waive some of the current rules, regulations and procedures that are in place to be able to have something that looks a little different than our traditional high school," Sabin said.
HB 797 sets forth a new funding mechanism for these schools and establishes a State Charter Schools Commission to conduct the review process for charter school petitions and ensure that charter schools are consistent with state educational goals.
Under current law, charter schools approved by the state are forced to operate on approximately half of the funds of other public schools.
Moreover, the bill spells out how HR 1162 would be implemented if Georgia voters approve the constitutional amendment in November, an amendment that has the governor's full support.
"Georgia's parents want more options, and it is my duty as governor to see that they have them. These schools help students trapped in underperforming schools and aid communities that want to invest in new and imaginative ways of learning for their children.
"Approving this amendment will restore the process for creating state-charted schools that existed before the state Supreme Court struck down the state's system for granting charters. I am confident Georgia voters will take advantage of the opportunity this fall to support charter schools in our state."
At the bill signing ceremony, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools presented Deal with the Champion for Charters Award for supporting high-quality public charter schools. Annually, the Champions for Charters awards recognize public officials for leading a major public charter issue or initiative, serving as a highly visible public charter school advocate, and consistently supporting charters as a high-quality public school choice option.
-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.