A Fulton County court ruling prohibiting the Atlanta school board from requiring charter schools to help plug an employee pension-plan shortfall would remove any incentive to approve future charter schools, a lawyer for the district argued Monday.
But the lawyer representing 13 startup charter schools in Atlanta told the Georgia Supreme Court there is no provision in the 1998 state law creating charter schools in Georgia allowing school districts to deduct pension liabilities from the funds they allocate to charter schools.
Atlanta Public Schools officials are challenging a lower-court ruling last year denying the school district’s plan to subtract a portion of $38.6 million in unfunded pension liabilities that had accumulated since the 1980s from the system’s charter schools.
The net loss to the charter schools was to be about $2.8 million, based on the percentage of the system’s students who attend charter schools.
Unless the charter schools contributed that money, APS argued, each student enrolled in those schools would receive $900 more than students enrolled in Atlanta’s traditional schools during the last school year.