Georgia is offering a growing number of school choice options to parents.
Public School Choice:
Georgia offers public school choice through intra-district and inter-district enrollment among public schools. It also has a moderately strong charter school law. According to the Center for Education Reform, approximately 58,000 students were enrolled in the state’s 109 public charter schools in 2010.
Private School Choice:
Georgia operates two programs to provide private school choice. Beginning in 2007, special-needs students became eligible for scholarships to attend a private school of choice through the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program. Nearly 2,000 students participated in this program in 2009, attending more than 145 different private schools. Since 2008, the Georgia Scholarship Tax Credit Program has allowed individuals and businesses to receive a tax credit for donating to scholarships. In 2009, 1,900 students received scholarships as a result of this program.
According to Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning, Georgia has a state-led virtual school, the Georgia Virtual School (GAVS); two virtual charter schools; and several district online programs. Gwinette County’s Online Campus–a district-operated program–was granted charter status in 2011 and is now authorized to offer a full-time virtual school option to its students. Overall, in 2010-2011 approximately 14,000 students in Georgia took courses online.
In 2008, Governor Sonny Perdue signed legislation to create the Georgia Tax Credit Scholarship Program. Individuals and corporations can now receive state income tax credits for contributions to nonprofit scholarship-granting organizations (SGOs) that award tuition scholarships. Individuals can claim a tax credit of up to $1,000; married couples filing jointly, can claim up to $2,000. Businesses can claim up to 75 percent of their tax liability. The total amount of tax credits made available is $50 million, and credits are claimed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Click here for detailed information on Georgia's public school system and see below for school choice contacts and a history of school choice legislation in Georgia.