The U.S. secretary of education warned earlier this week that states who stunt the growth of charter schools with caps or who have no charter school authorization laws will "jeopardize their applications" for the funds.
With Georgia's growing charter landscape, Andrew Broy, a state associate superintendent, said the state should be a front-runner for the funds. "I think we will start at the top in the race to the top."
Georgia has 113 charter schools.
Nina Gilbert, head of school at Ivy Prep, expected to grow to 300 students in the fall, is hoping federal support for charters could prevent a potential lawsuit from being filed by Georgia school leaders who oppose sharing local funds with charter schools they didn't approve.
Officials with the Georgia School Superintendents Association have said some of their members question the constitutionality of the commission's ability to divvy local funds.
Gilbert called the state board's show of support Thursday a "milestone" and said that as far as any lawsuit, "we will take the challenges as they come."
Harwood agreed. CCAT, which had about 125 students last school year, receives between $4,000 and $4,500 per pupil from the state. With local dollars, Harwood said her bottom line could grow significantly. She said her local school district receives between $7,800 and more than $8,000 per student.
Officials with the Georgia Charter Schools Association stand ready to aid the commission candidates should a lawsuit target their funding.