Point-Counterpoint: Supreme Court strikes down Georgia Charter Schools Commission Act

THE ISSUE: The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday ruled 4-3 in favor of seven school districts challenging the constitutionality of the Georgia Charter Schools Commission Act passed in 2008.

Here are two takes on the ruling:

“Today's ruling was a direct blow to educational and economic opportunity for many Georgia students and families. It's a disappointment that government budgets take precedence over academic excellence and making available the best education options for Georgia's children.

“… Georgia's leaders now have an opportunity to rectify this wrong by amending the Constitution. In the meantime, we must extend a lifeline to those students who have seen their hopes and dreams – and perhaps a prosperous future – snatched away just 12 weeks before the start of a new school year.”

— Kelly McCutchen, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation

“We are pleased with the court's decision. While some tried to paint this lawsuit as an anti-charter school case, nothing could be further from the truth. At its heart, this was a constitutional question, one that has been answered once and for all.

“The Supreme Court has ruled correctly that the commission does not have the constitutional authority to establish schools and direct local dollars to the operation of those commission-approved schools. Again, the Gwinnett County Board of Education's participation in this lawsuit was not a stand against the creation of charter schools, but rather against the establishment of a state commission that sought to usurp the jurisdiction and resources of a duly elected local board of education.”

— Gwinnett County schools CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks

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