ATLANTA -- A multi-campus charter school with a branch in Gwinnett County asked parents to get behind its cause Monday night during a rally in Fulton County.
Ivy Preparatory Academy is asking supporters to "mobilize" and support state legislation that Founder Nina Gilbert said will "ensure the future of our children in Gwinnett County and beyond."
Gilbert said the school is in what she calls "a unique situation."
Earlier this month, the Gwinnett County Board of Education voted to deny a charter extension of Ivy Prep Academy's Gwinnett campus as well as a proposed new location in the county.
The decision came after a district charter review committee recommended the board not grant a five-year charter extension for the local campus, citing "significant deficiencies" including its financials and curriculum as well as its vision.
In light of the local school board's decision, Ivy Prep representatives are turning to the state and its supporters.
Gilbert said on Monday night that hundreds had already signed a petition that supports an amendment to Georgia's constitution "guaranteeing school choice."
House Resolution 1162 aims to restate the authority of the General Assembly to create special schools, delineate types of schools and clarify funding authority for charter schools such as Ivy Prep Academy.
Janice Moton, a parent of a student who attends the Norcross campus, attended Monday night's rally to support the legislation.
Moton said she supports "school choice."
"Parents should have a chance to decide where they want their children to be educated," Moton said.
Gilbert said if the proposed bill passes, "we will have other options for our children, whereas if it does not pass we are out of options with the Gwinnett County Public School System."
The local all-girl facility first opened in Norcross in 2008 as a state-chartered special school. It received no local funding at the time.
Following a court decision in the summer of 2011 that shuttered the state commission created to fund charter schools, the Georgia Board of Education approved an agreement between Norcoss-based Ivy Prep and Gwinnett County Public Schools that kept the charter school open.
Gwinnett Schools approved a one-year contract last year to allow the school to continue to operate. The local facility operates as a Gwinnett County charter school with nearly 600 sixth- through ninth-grade girls.
A vote in January from the local board of education denied the Norcross school its charter, giving Ivy Prep 30 days to submit a proposal to the district that is "more in line" with GCPS' current financial and curricular goals.
For more information about Ivy Prep, visit www.ivyprepacademy.org.