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State BOE to approve Ivy Prep, Gwinnett agreement

The Associated Press . In this June 23 photo, about 200 charter school supporters attend a rally on the Capitol steps in Atlanta.

The Associated Press . In this June 23 photo, about 200 charter school supporters attend a rally on the Capitol steps in Atlanta.

NORCROSS -- The state Board of Education is expected to OK Ivy Preparatory Academy as a locally approved charter school.

The all-girls school in Norcross is one of 11 charter schools whose applications were approved Monday by a committee of the state school board, said Matt Cardoza, spokesman for the Georgia Department of Education. The full board will vote on the applications during its meeting this morning.

Nine of the schools face losing half their funding because they sought state approval rather than going through a local school district. Ivy Prep was one of two schools that received local approval.

The schools were in danger of closing after the Georgia Supreme Court ruled last month that the state commission that created them was illegal. The high court's 4-3 vote was a win for school systems, including Gwinnett County Public Schools, that argued it was unconstitutional for the commission to approve and fund charter schools over the objection of local boards of education.

The Gwinnett County Board of Education, which initially rejected Ivy Prep in 2007, approved a one-year contract for the school during its June 16 meeting.

Funding conflicts led Ivy Prep officials to ask the Gwinnett board to remove the contract from consideration. The school board, however, approved the contract and told Ivy Prep representatives they were free to reconsider the request.

Sloan Roach, spokeswoman for Gwinnett County Public Schools, said Monday that talks have continued between officials from Ivy Prep and the Gwinnett and DeKalb school districts regarding funding.

When Ivy Prep opened as a state-chartered special school in 2008, it opened its doors to students throughout the metro Atlanta area. Because it was not receiving local funding, its attendance zone was not restricted.

The Gwinnett school board's agreement will give the school local funding for its students who live in the county. Part of the agreement required a memorandum of understanding to be established with DeKalb County Public Schools to secure funding for students who live in that county, Roach said.

Reached by phone Monday, Nina Gilbert, the founder of Ivy Prep, said she did not wish to comment until after the state school board voted on the charter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.