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Abstract

Charter schools have autonomy from district and state regulations related to who they hire, how they structure the school day, and how they spend their resources. In exchange for this autonomy, charter schools must exceed the state average of traditional public schools on performance measures. Most charter schools operate alone from their districts or with a consortium of schools that have adopted the same curriculum. The State of Georgia, however, permits school districts to apply for charter status, such that every school in the district is a charter school and each school makes decisions about its people, time and money. Altogether, this study examines charter systems to determine if districts are, indeed, relinquishing autonomy to their schools and what impact new governance practices may have on district performance.

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