SCSC Newsletter
September 2020
SCSC Resumes 2020 Start-up Petition Cycle 
The State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia (SCSC) board voted to resume the 2020 start-up petition cycle with a modified review timeline and establish the 2021 start-up petition cycle at the August board meeting. As you may recall, the SCSC made the difficult decision earlier this year to suspend the 2020 start-up petition cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting state revenue shortfall. At that time, we announced that next steps would be shared at our August board meeting, and we would look to state revenues as a guide.
The SCSC staff is thrilled to resume the petition cycle and review your plans to provide quality choices for Georgia students. We encourage petitioners to review the resources available on the “Start a School” section of the SCSC website. SCSC General Counsel Cerrone Lockett ( and Associate General Counsel Rennie Laryea ( are managing the petition process and are available to answer any questions you may have.
Please see the modified start-up petition cycle calendar. The following training opportunities are available to all petitioners and will be held virtually:

Petitioner Boot Camp – October 7 (Details)
Petition Application Webinar – October 15 (Details)
Petition Budget Webinar – October 22 (Details)
SCSC Votes to Reduce its Administrative Withhold
To help offset education budget reductions and maximize the funds that flow to state charter schools in the 2020-21 school year, the State Charter Schools Commission voted to reduce the percentage of school funds that it retains for agency operations. At its August board meeting, the SCSC reduced its administrative withhold from 2% to 1.48% for veteran state charter schools and from 1% to 0.00% for new state charters for the 2020-21 school year. This action returns more than $1.5 million in state funding to state charter schools.

State law O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2089(b) authorizes the SCSC to withhold up to 3% of state funding
allocated to state charter schools for SCSC administrative costs. However, the SCSC has historically operated on a reduced budget to allow state charter schools to allocate more funding to instructional expenses. Consistent with previous years, at its March 2020 meeting, the SCSC
approved a 2% administrative withhold for existing state charter schools and 1% administrative
withhold for state charter schools in the first year of operation.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting impact on state revenues, the state
implemented 10.37% austerity reductions to state education formula funds for the FY21 school year. Although the SCSC has always returned unused agency funds to state charter schools upon closure of the fiscal year’s accounting records, the SCSC wanted to take additional steps to partially offset this loss of state funding in the FY21 school year.

Rather than returning unused funds to schools at the end of FY21, the SCSC voted to preliminarily reduce the withhold percentage amounts. Reduction of the withhold allows additional funds to remain with schools, thereby helping schools to offer additional instructional programs and services to their students, including any expenses related to pandemic response and distance learning.

State charter schools will see an increased allotment beginning in September 2020 through the remainder of the fiscal year. This change will be reflected on September allotment sheets; however, unlike previous years, schools will receive a substantially lower giveback grant at the close of FY21.
SCSC Board Meeting Recap
The State Charter Schools Commission (SCSC) held its most recent board meeting on August 26.  

By unanimous vote, the SCSC approved the SCSC staff recommendation to direct the Georgia Department of Education to reduce the SCSC’s administrative withhold to 1.48% of state funding allocated to state charter schools not currently in their first year of operation as authorized by O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2089(b); and the withhold for state charter schools in the first year of operation shall be 0.00%. 

By unanimous vote, the SCSC also approved the SCSC staff recommendation to resume the 2020 petition cycle and initiate the 2021 petition cycle per the timeline presented by SCSC staff. 
The SCSC, by unanimous vote, also approved the SCSC staff recommendation to accept surrender of the charter authorizing the operation of The Community Academy for Architecture & Design (“TCAAD”).  

The commission and commission staff thanked Terence Washington, the outgoing SCSC Financial Accountability Manager, for his service to the commission. Washington started with the SCSC in July 2013.

A meeting minutes summary can be found on the SCSC website. The next SCSC board meeting is scheduled for September 30, 2020.
State School Superintendent Seeks Nominations for Student Advisory Council 
State School Superintendent Richard Woods is seeking high school students to serve on his 2020-21 Student Advisory Council. These students will meet with Superintendent Woods to discuss the impact of state policies in the classroom, along with other issues related to education, and will serve as the Superintendent’s ambassadors to their respective schools.

Applicants must be enrolled in a Georgia public high school for the 2020-21 school year (virtual learning students are still considered enrolled). The Student Advisory Council’s first meeting will be held virtually on November 5, 2020. Other meeting dates will be set and announced to participants at a later time.

Applications are available here. Applications must be submitted by October 1, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. Late applications will not be accepted. A news release with further details is available here.
Governor Kemp Signs SB 367 into Law 
Governor Kemp signed Senate Bill 367 into law on Wednesday, August 5, 2020. The bill eliminates the grade 5 Social Studies Georgia Milestones End-of-Grade (EOG) assessment, eliminates four high school Georgia Milestones End-of-Course (EOC) assessments, and requires that school districts administer the EOG within the last 25 days of their local school calendar.

To assist districts in complying with the 25-day requirement for the administration of the EOG, the state window for the Spring 2021 EOG Administration will be delayed by one week to April 12 – May 21, 2021.

The State Board of Education (SBOE) determined which EOCs will remain. They include American Literature, Algebra or Coordinate Algebra, Biology and U.S. History. Given this reduction to one Georgia Milestones EOC assessment per content area, The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) is considering whether revisions to the Georgia Alternate Assessment (GAA) 2.0 high school assessments are necessary.

A memorandum has been posted to the GaDOE website here.

The memorandum requests two actions:
  • Share the GAA 2.0 High School Test Design Survey with educators in your district who work with or support high school students with significant cognitive disabilities. The survey will be open through September 15, 2020.

  • Nominate educators from your district to participate in upcoming test development activities for the GAA 2.0 high school assessments. Nominations will be accepted through September 15, 2020. Please share the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page at the end of the memo with your nominees.

For questions, please reach out to the GaDOE Assessment or Accountability Specialists. Read the SCSC's full 2020 legislative summary here. The summary is also available in the SCSC guidance document.
GaDOE to Host Data Collections
Open Office Hours 
The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) developed a webinar series for data collections in lieu of its annual data collections conference. “Data Collections Open Office Hours” webinars will be held every Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The webinars, which started on Sept. 2, are scheduled to take place every Wednesday through October.

According to information from GaDOE, you only need to register once for the weekly office hours sessions, as the access information is the same each week. The sessions will also be recorded and hosted on the FY2021 Presentations, Webinars, and Miscellaneous Documentation page of GaDOE’s website here. To register for GaDOE’s Data Collections Open Office Hours, follow the link here.
Support the State Charter Schools Foundation
Support schools by giving to the State Charter Schools Foundation (SCSF). Your tax-deductible donation will help provide state charter schools their own electronic devices and access to the Internet. You can support the SCSF by giving online today. Visit the SCSF website for more details.

The SCSF is seeking a fall intern to support marketing and fundraising activities. Visit the SCSF website for more information.
State Charter Chatter
  • Mountain Education Charter High School (MECHS) hosted two forms of graduation ceremonies to recognize its 2020 graduates. Each MECHS site conducted a "Graduation Celebration" for graduates either in their parking lot or at an outdoor facility. During the celebration, students had the opportunity to pick up their caps and gowns, scholarship information, as well as other commemorative items. This was also a time to have cap and gown pictures made for those students who had not yet had the opportunity. Each site also held a virtual graduation ceremony via Facebook. The virtual ceremonies were held on August 27th and August 31st. Seniors were also recognized on social media with senior spotlights through the spring and summer months. The links to all MECHS virtual commencement exercises can be viewed here.

  • Foothills Education Charter High School hosted several virtual graduations for their graduating students this week! Congratulations to the Class of 2020. You can watch the graduations here.
SCSC Meetings
The next SCSC monthly board meeting is scheduled for September 30, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. A list of upcoming meetings can be found on the meetings page of the SCSC website.
GaDOE Support Directory
Providing high-quality service and support to districts and schools is a core responsibility of the Georgia Department of Education. With that in mind, GaDOE created a District Support Directory. Simply enter the name of your district or select it from the drop-down at the top of the page, and contact information for the staff assigned to support your district will appear. You can filter by name, specialization/focus, or title. The directory will be refreshed regularly to ensure the most up-to-date contact information is available.
FY20 Governance Training Requirements
The State Board of Education has extended local board training requirements to September 30, 2020. Accordingly, the SCSC will extend the governance training deadline to September 30, 2020. The SCSC will waive the requirement regarding direct instruction so that pre-recorded webinars can be used to satisfy the 12-hour training requirement. For more information about Annual Governance Training Requirements, click here.
Georgia Accountability Waiver
Georgia’s Federal Assessment and Accountability Waiver was submitted to the U.S. Department of Education for consideration on July 13.

According to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) statue, the U.S. Department of Education has 90 days to respond to waiver requests. At this time, a ruling has not been made. The Georgia Department of Education will share additional information as it becomes available.

For more information, contact Allison Timberlake, Ph.D., Deputy Superintendent for Assessment & Accountability,, 404-463-6666.
GaDOE Data Reporting Deadlines
Please review and mark your calendars with the upcoming August reporting deadlines from the Georgia Department of Education. 
FY21 Reporting Calendar
The State Charter Schools Commission’s (SCSC) FY21 Reporting Deadlines calendar is now live on the SCSC website here. Please note that most deadlines are established by The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) and are subject to change. The SCSC makes every attempt to ensure that it maintains all dates as accurately as possible. However, all schools are encouraged to stay up to date of any changes to the timeline made by GaDOE. Any failure by a state charter school to meet deadlines established and enforced by the SCSC and GaDOE will be reflected in the school’s assessment through the SCSC Comprehensive Performance Framework.
SCSC Upcoming Trainings & Events
Academic Summit 
Target Audience: School Leaders, Academic/ Curriculum Directors and Lead Teachers
September 17, 2020 – Held Virtually
The purpose of this training is to plan for new instructional practices for the 2020/2021 school year. Topics will include each school’s response to COVID-19, implementing school restart plans, and adjusting instruction in anticipation of learning loss. Specific focus will be on identifying strategies that support gap closure in a virtual or hybrid learning environment and learning how to implement these strategies using synchronous and asynchronous tools.
Sign up here for this training.       

Petitioner Bootcamp  
Target Audience: Start-up charter petitioners
October 7, 2020 – Held Virtually

The Petitioner Boot Camp prepares potential petitioners for the SCSC charter petition process. Attendees will learn what goes into a successful charter petition, with a specific focus on timeline, legal requirements, board governance, financial controls, and budget preparation. Attendees will also hear directly from existing state charter schools and have the opportunity to ask questions of existing schools and SCSC staff. Sign up here for this training. 
Petitioner Webinar Series
Target Audience: Start-up Charter Petitioners
October 15, 2020 and October 22, 2020 – Held Virtually

The SCSC will offer a series of webinars following the petitioner boot camp to assist applicants in the petition development process.

•           Overview of Application and FluidReview – October 15, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. Register Here
•           Overview of Funding and Budget Template – October 22, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. Register Here

Governance Training (Opportunity 1 of 3)          
Target Audience: Governing board members and school leaders
November 9-10, 2020- Held Virtually

Georgia law, O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2084(f), requires every member of a governing board of a state charter school to participate in annual governing board training. State charter school governing board members may attend one of the two governing board training opportunities provided to state charters by the SCSC at no charge to fulfill this obligation. The SCSC strongly encourages state charter school governing board members to attend one of the governance trainings conducted by the SCSC as these trainings provides board members the unique opportunity to discuss issues and concerns directly with their authorizer. The SCSC staff’s unique understanding of the compliance issues facing state charter schools ensures that SCSC training sessions are always topical, relevant, and timely. Topics will include the roles and responsibilities of board members and administrators, the SCSC Comprehensive Performance Framework, school finance, legal obligations, among others. Sign up here for this training.
Funding & Professional Development Opportunities
Get Georgia Reading Campaign
This campaign is geared toward getting all of Georgia’s children on a path to third grade reading proficiency by 2020. The campaign unites public and private partners to pursue language, literacy, development, and sustainability to reach this goal. Get involved or read more about the initiative here.
State Charter Schools Commission |
The State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia (SCSC) is a state-level, independent charter school authorizing entity. The SCSC has the power to approve or deny petitions for state charter schools and renew, nonrenew, or terminate state charter school contracts in accordance with Georgia law.
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