How I Started A School in Georgia [All Your Questions Answered]

by | Miscellaneous

Over the last three years, so many teachers and some parents have asked me how to start a school in Georgia.

Many of them couldn’t believe a regular Joe Blow like them had started a school. Not only a school but also an accredited one.

I am here to tell you that you can do the same. Not only that, there is a possibility we can work together or you can still learn a lot by joining our group, Georgia Teacher Microschool Builders.

On average, anyone can start a school in the state of Georgia. Teachers, parents, businessmen, and women—anyone, and all you need is a business license and a safe place to teach students. There are certain requirements for teachers and the head of the school.

Marketing for Schools

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Cindy Lumpkin. I started Triumph in Life, Inc., in 2008 as a mentoring program for students with disabilities.

As an administrator at the time, I missed working with the students. I enjoyed working with teachers, but I wanted to have my cake and eat it too.

We had so much fun. We traveled the city, ate at some of the best restaurants, and attended school sporting events.

However, it quickly became evident that, overall, students were not being educated well, and as much as I wanted to do things differently, I couldn’t.

I didn’t want to be part of the status quo. So, when I had my first child in 2010, I quit! I planned to be a stay-at-home mama. But God had different plans.

Our daughter was a little social butterfly. We decided that she needed to be around more little people. So, in August 2013, she started school.

In November 2013, I decided to go for it and started the school. Triumph was up and running with provisional accreditation in less than a month.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. I started a school in less than four weeks! In this video, I talk a little more about it.

My personal story of opening a private school in Georiga.

Enough about me! Let’s continue to answer all your pressing questions on how to start a school in Georgia. 

How do private school owners make money?

Private schools in Georgia are funded mainly through tuition. However, some schools receive funds from the Georgia Private School Tax Credit and the SB10 Scholarship. 

In general, to make money running a private school, you will have to charge tuition. The Tax Credit and SB 10 programs are designed to help reduce the cost of tuition.

They were created to supplement tuition for families. Like all businesses, the success of your school will be based on consumers seeing the value in it and paying for it. 

What is the Georgia Private School Tax Credit?

According to GADOE, “The Georgia Private School Tax Credit law allows eligible private citizens and corporations to receive tax credits for donations to Student Scholarship Organizations (SSOs).  SSOs will provide student scholarships to parents of eligible children who plan to attend private schools.”

What is the SB10 Georgia Special Needs Scholarship? 

EdChoice explains SB10, “The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program allows any student with a disability whose parents are unhappy with their assigned public school to receive a voucher to attend a private school.”

The state of Georgia is a school-choice state. Families can choose between public, public charter, private, online, and homeschooling programs to meet their needs.

However, to receive money from both SB10 and the tax credit, you have to be accredited or in the process. Going through accreditation takes some extra steps.

On average, to become accredited in Georgia, there are several accrediting bodies that school owners can choose from, including the following:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; or
  • Georgia Accrediting Commission; or
  • Georgia Association of Christian Schools; or
  • Association of Christian Schools International; or
  • Georgia Private School Accreditation Council; or
  • Accrediting Commission for Independent Study; or
  • Southern Association of Independent Schools.

So far, I hope I’ve helped you gain clarity on how to start a school in Georgia. Before we continue, I want to share my opinion on a question I am often asked, “Are private schools profitable?”

Owning a private school is profitable—at least it can be. Microschools are small private school concepts that can be lucrative. These are generally less expensive to run when compared to traditional private schools and public schools 

How To Start A Private School In Georgia

I am happy you asked and that you have read this far. Nothing makes me happier than helping other teachers and parents open schools to meet the needs of our youth.

This process can appear overwhelming because of the many little details. However, I created the How to Start a School Coaching Journal to help you along your journey.

It’s a 12-month guide that walks you step-by-step through the 12-step process listed below.

This is great for those who are in the dreaming and planning stages. 

What stage are you at? Not sure? Watch the video below. 

What is your stage? Awareness is key.

Visit the US Department of Education. Here they have laid out the state regulations for private schools in Georgia. This is a good starting point for the specific requirements. 

After reflecting on everything I did or didn’t do back in 2013, when I started The Triumph School (formerly Tirumph Transition School), I developed a 12-step process for you.

Not every step is required, but it is greatly encouraged based on my experience. They included:

  1. Find Community (Optional)
  2. Determine Type of School 
  3. Create An Advisory Board (Optional)
  4. Design Your School’s Curriculum
  5. Requirements To Open A School (Legal/Operational)
  6. Find Funding Options
  7. Develop A Fundraising Strategy 
  8. Create Your Budget And Business Plan (Optional)
  9. Address Your Staffing Needs
  10. Select The Right Facility To Start Your School
  11. Develop Your School’s Policies and Procedures
  12. Select an Accrediting Body (Optional)
  13. Develop a Marketing Plan

Click here, FREE How To Start A School Checklist to receive a 12-month timeline if you are interested in exploring how to start a school in Georgia.

I’ve also written an extensive article on How To Start A School that goes into great detail about each one of the topics above. It is for sure worth reading after you finish this article.

However, before you head over there, let me warn you. Number one on that list is the MOST looked overstep, but it’s the most needed.

Now more than ever, being in a community of like-minded individuals who have the same goal is critical. This can be a lonely, scary journey, but it is also worth it.

Are you determined to embark on this process? If so, this is one of the most important steps to take.

Here are some benefits of community that are immeasurable:

  • Community breeds support. Trust me, you will encounter moments of discouragement. Having community will help you fight feelings of hopelessness that may come on this journey. It can also help celebrate those small victories. It’s one thing to have support from family and friends, but it’s another to have it from people who know and understand.
  • It provides connection and belonging. Togetherness is so critical to our experience as humans. Connecting with others who share some of our values, interests, and worldviews helps us understand we are not alone.
  • It provides an opportunity for us to share, give back, and learn from one another. Let’s face it, teachers are some of the most giving people there are. It’s in us to want to give back. I believe it’s an innate desire. There is so much I am still learning from the many teachers I am in the community with. For example, people are often finding new, easier, and less expensive ways to do so many things as it relates to creating and running private schools. I can’t possibly keep up with all the changes. But I come close because of connections with people who share their ideals. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of finding a crew who understands and who can speak to you where you are. In addition, connections breed collaboration. 

Triumph in Life, Inc., the non-profit organization that runs Triumph School, is branching out to do more strategic partnerships. 

We want to improve access to alternative schooling for students with disabilities in the state of Georgia.  Therefore, we want to partner with passionate educators to make this happen.

That is right! We are looking to partner with passionate teachers in Georgia who see the value in alternative schooling for students, particularly those with learning disabilities. 

Are you interested in learning more details? Join our community on Facebook for teachers in Georiga. Our group is called Georgia Teacher Microschool Builders.

You don’t have to be the teacher who gets pushed out. You can leave and start your own.

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