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Charter schools, including the Museum School, sue DeKalb County Schools over funding

Avondale Estates COVID-19 Metro ATL

Charter schools, including the Museum School, sue DeKalb County Schools over funding

DeKalb County School District Administration and Instructional Complex on Mtn. Industrial Blvd. in Stone Mountain. Photo by Dean Hesse

Avondale Estates, GA — The Museum School in Avondale Estates is one of seven charter schools suing the DeKalb County School District over allegations that the district improperly withheld funding from the schools.

The other schools are the DeKalb Academy of Technology and the Environment, the DeKalb Preparatory Academy Charter School, the Leadership Preparatory Academy, the DeKalb Path Academy, the Tapestry School and the Globe Academy.

The lawsuit was filed in Fulton County Superior Court on Aug. 17, according to a copy obtained by Decaturish.

The dispute over funding began well before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the lawsuit, “In December 2019, DCSD’s charter office provided the Charter Schools with proposals for their FY21 budgets that were substantially lower than in previous years.”

The Museum School’s Board of Directors sent a letter to parents explaining its decision to join the lawsuit.

“The seven charter schools allege that the District failed to provide them with funding to support students with disabilities and further that the district treated them less favorably than their traditional schools,” the letter says. “The Charters also contend that the District breached its contract in failing to provide funding consistent with the amount approved by the Local Board and the District failed to identify services as required when pulling back 3% of Charter School funding for administrative fees. Of note, the District made decisions regarding the funding cuts prior to the recent budget crises caused by the pandemic.

“The Museum School and the six other charter schools have attempted to resolve this matter with the District amicably for several months. None of the Charter schools want to engage in litigation but we were left with little choice as the District failed to negotiate or even discuss the matter with an eye toward resolution. The Charters brought this action to ensure that their diverse student bodies receive funding in compliance with the law in order to meet their unique missions as locally approved charter schools.”

Messages to the law firm representing the Charter Schools and the DeKalb County School District were not immediately returned.

The schools are asking the court to rule that the school district is in breach of its contracts with the schools and to reimburse the schools for their attorneys’ fees.