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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- February 25, 2016 letter to our school communities regarding City Schools' counter-suit and charter school funding.
- On February 23, 2016, BCPSS files counterclaims against some public charter schools. The claims were eventually dismissed.
- 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.
- On January 9, 2016, Baltimore City Circuit Court judge rules against City Schools' motion to dismiss charter lawsuits.
- October 21, 2015 letter to our school communities regarding the latest development in the litigation.
- 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".
- 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.
- On October 6, 2015, three more charter schools joined the lawsuit, bringing the total to 14.
- More than 500 public charter school supporters from around Baltimore City gathered on September 26, 2015 at Lake Montebello for a #SaveTheChartersBmore rally.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Maryland State Board of Education ruling on charter school funding formula 2005, establishes a formula for funding charter schools.
- Charter school legislation is passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 2003.