Atlanta Board of Education candidate forum to focus on charter schools

An upcoming forum will shed light on how Atlanta Board of Education candidates view charter schools.

The virtual event will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday. Those wishing to watch the forum can register in advance online.

All nine Atlanta school board are up for grabs during the Nov. 2 election. Voters will choose among 22 candidates, including six incumbents, to fill the spots.

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Candidates will be invited to participate in a forum organized by the Atlanta Charter Partner Network. The topics discussed will focus on charter school issues.

Charter and partner schools enroll about a quarter of Atlanta Public Schools’ roughly 51,000 students. Twenty-five charter and partner schools operate with great flexibility and autonomy under multi-year contracts within the district, which authorizes the schools and provides high-level oversight.

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Renewing and expanding charter schools has been a source of division, resulting in a couple of narrow board votes in recent years.

The upcoming forum is organized by KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools, the district’s largest charter operator, as well as several other charter school organizations.

The event is one of several forums planned by various groups to give voters a chance to learn about the large field of APS board candidates.