History of Litigation

Since charter school legislation was passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 2003, school districts and charter school operators have disagreed on how charter schools should be funded. The origin of this dispute lies in the lack of clarity in the law, which does not state what funding for charter schools should be. 

Below is a history of the litigation that has taken place, with links to key rulings from either the Court of Appeals of Maryland, the highest court in the state, or the Maryland State Board of Education.

Please contact ABI Executive Director Mr. Will McKenna with questions.

Timeline / Archive

  • In December 2018, The Maryland State Board of Education ruled that an imposition of a mandatory fee is illegal. 

Baltimore City Public Charter Schools Mandatory Fees

  • In an important December 2017 ruling, The Maryland State Department of Education amends a previous decision, after the Maryland State Court of Appeals outlined several errors in the opinion, and reestablished its independent judgment standard giving no deference to the local school board's conclusions. This is important because it reaffirms the Maryland State Board's authority with respect to the funding formula.  

Frederick Classical Charter School vs. Frederick County Board of Education

  • On December 18, 2017, the Maryland State Court of Appeals stated that charter operators will be given the opportunity for discovery in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

MD State Court of Appeals Proceeding 12_18_17
Ruling Returns Charter School Lawsuit Against Baltimore to Circuit Court   | Baltimore Sun 12_19_17

  • On September 11, 2017, the Maryland State Court of Appeals held a proceeding about whether the charter complaint against school district should be heard in Baltimore City Circuit Court or by the Maryland State Board of Education.

MD State Court of Appeals Proceeding 9_11_17

  • February 25, 2016 letter to our school communities regarding City Schools' counter-suit and charter school funding.

ABI Litigation and Budget Letter 2_25_16

  • On February 23, 2016, BCPSS files counterclaims against some public charter schools. The claims were eventually dismissed. 

BCPSS Counterclaim | Baltimore Sun 2_23_16

  • On February 23, 2016, the Maryland State Board of Education rejected the Baltimore City Public School System's request for a ruling on its funding formula, saying the school system failed to present any facts, “The petition filed here presents no concrete facts from which we could declare the law.” The full petition is available to view below.

MSDE Petition Response 2_23_16

  • On January 9, 2016, Baltimore City Circuit Court judge rules against City Schools' motion to dismiss charter lawsuits.

Judge Rules Against BCPSS Motion to Dismiss | Baltimore Sun 1_9_16

  • October 21, 2015 letter to our school communities regarding the latest development in the litigation.

ABI Litigation and Budget Letter 10_21_15

  • On October 20, 2015, former Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke exits talks with school system and charter schools, as he determined that talks were "no longer a productive process".

Schmoke Exits Talks With Baltimore Charters, District | Baltimore Sun 10_20_15

  • On October 7, 2015, the Baltimore City Council's Education and Youth Committee held a hearing on Equitable Funding for City Public Charter Schools. The hearing can be viewed in full below.

City Council Hearing 10_7_15

City Council Probes School Officials on Charter Impasse | Baltimore Sun 10_8_15

  • On October 6, 2015, three more charter schools joined the lawsuit, bringing the total to 14.

More Charter Schools Join Funding Lawsuit as City Council Plans to Probe Issue | Baltimore Sun 10_6_15

  • More than 500 public charter school supporters from around Baltimore City gathered on September 26, 2015 at Lake Montebello for a #SaveTheChartersBmore rally.

Charter School Supporters Rally for Funding | Baltimore Sun 9_26_15

  • City Schools scraps the controversial proposed funding formula for public charter schools on September 22, 2015, as University of Baltimore president and former mayor Kurt L. Schmoke agrees to help mediate.

City School System Scraps Charter Funding Change as Schmoke Enters Talks | Baltimore Sun 9_22_15

  • On September 10, 2015, Afya Baltimore Inc. joins many other operators from around the city in a lawsuit in Baltimore City Circuit Court against our authorizer, the Baltimore City Public School System, alleging that the district's funding formula for charter schools violates state law and threatens their ability to serve thousands of students. 

Baltimore Charter Schools File Lawsuit Against School System Over Funding | Baltimore Sun 9_10_15

  • September 10, 2015 letter to families announcing the lawsuit filed against Baltimore City Public Schools by ABI and many other public charter school operators around the city.

ABI Litigation Letter to Families 9_10_15

  • On September 8, 2015, the school board presented a new funding formula for public charter schools, the latest step in an effort to resolve a longstanding dispute over the state's charter law.

City Schools Proposes New Charter Funding, Meets Same Resistance | Baltimore Sun 9_8_15

  • Brehms Lane Public Charter School opened its doors in August 2016 in the Belair-Edison neighborhood, converted to a charter school from a traditional school.

 

  • Tunbridge Public Charter School opened its doors in August 2010 in the Govans neighborhood.

 

  • Afya Public Charter School opened its doors in August 2008 in the Belair-Edison neighborhood.

 

  • Court of Appeals of Maryland ruling on charter school funding formula July 30, 2007 asserts that the Maryland State Board of Education, not the local jurisdiction, has the authority to determine per pupil funding for charter schools.

Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners vs. City Neighbors Charter School 

  • The Monocacy Montessori 2006 ruling, by the Maryland State Board affirmed the Board's authority to review funding formulas but gave deference to local jurisdictions, an issue that would arise in later rulings.

Monocacy Montessori Community vs. Frederick County Board of Education

  • Maryland State Board of Education ruling on charter school funding formula 2005, establishes a formula for funding charter schools. 

City Neighbors Charter School vs. Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners

  • Charter school legislation is passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 2003. 

Maryland State Charter School Law