GAE Lawsuit Challenges Atlanta Turnaround Plan
The Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) has filed a lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court against Atlanta Public Schools (APS) for adopting a “turnaround plan” that calls for contracting out the entire operation and management of five schools, including Thomasville Heights Elementary, to two private charter operators. “GAE’s lawsuit takes aim at the turnaround plan and its false narrative of chronically failing public schools,” said Sid Chapman, GAE President.
“APS said their turnaround plan was necessary to prevent schools from being taken over by the state if the Opportunity School District constitutional amendment passed. However, on November 8th the voters resoundingly rejected the OSD. We believe the courts should do the same thing with Atlanta’s turnaround plan,” said Chapman.
The lawsuit contends that Atlanta’s scheme of unilaterally turning over schools to private charter operators constitutes an end-run around the process for converting existing public schools into schools operated and managed by private companies. The lawsuit alleges that APS’ turnaround strategy skirts the processes and safeguards built into the charter conversion process, most notably that school level stakeholders and parents have advance notice of the school conversion and support it.
“In fact, state laws encourage community schools be governed at the school level by governing bodies consisting of school stakeholders, including teachers, parents and community members, with the elected school board retaining ultimate management and control of the schools. The lawsuit challenges both the legal authority and constitutional validity of the school district’s actions.”
Fulton County Chief Judge Gail Tusan will hear legal arguments from both sides on Thursday, December 15, 2016, at 9:00 A.M. in Courtroom 9G of the Lewis R. Slaton Courthouse, 136 Pryor Street, Atlanta.