Virtual schools chart new course in Georgia

Representatives of five would-be virtual charter schools will file into the Georgia Department of Education today to pitch their brand of public education, which lets students study from home online. Some state officials, however, aren’t ready to OK more cyber schools without first doing more homework on the subject, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. On Nov. 3, the state Board of Education stifled the plans of the state’s only existing virtual charter school, which asked for the opportunity to compete for full funding from the Georgia Charter Schools Commission. The state school board tabled the request so it could study the issue. The five newcomers, however, did not have to seek permission to petition the GCSC. The new contenders are aiming high: If chartered by the GCSC, they could qualify for a matching share of local dollars carved from state allocations to the school districts their students would leave behind. But their appearance before the GCSC comes as state education officials are still trying to figure out how to handle virtual charter schools. Among their concerns: How will virtual schools serve special education students? How much money should they get and from which sources? And, how will they prevent struggling virtual school students from falling through any cyber cracks?

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