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Do You Support HR 1162, Allowing the State to Create Charter Schools?

Voters will head to the polls in November and decide if the state can override local school boards and create charter schools.

If voters pass a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the state to override local school boards on charter decisions, schools with rejected bids like Smyrna Academy of Excellence could still become a reality.

Ever since a  that approved 16 state-commissioned charter schools, proponents of school choice–– have worked to reverse the 4-3 ruling that left a number of charters scrambling to find ways to open their doors in time for the start of the 2011-12 school year.

The Families for Better Public Schools campaign behind the push for the amendment, referred to as HR 1162, says 58 percent of the 400 “likely general election voters” they polled are supportive of the amendment.  This number matches the outcome of the same poll conducted by FBPS four months ago.

“Public charter school parents, teachers and students will be thrilled to learn that Georgians continue to overwhelmingly favor the November vote,” FBPS Executive Director Mark Peevy said in an Aug. 1 release. “The support is evident across the board, among all partisan, age, gender and racial lines.”

But the Associated Press reports that Georgia Education Superintendent John Barge is speaking out against the amendment backed widely by his Republican party.

Barge said Georgia schools are “in a dire situation” and the amendment would threaten local control of school districts and state funds for traditional schools.

"Putting this whole picture together, I could not stand by without voicing my opposition to sending any money anywhere else until our children are in schools 180 days and our teachers are at full pay," Barge announced on Tuesday morning.

Gov. Nathan Deal, who personally lobbied legislators on the amendment, responded to Barge’s announcement in a statement: "I stand with 2/3 of the General Assembly and will uphold the promises I made when I ran for office: Parents and students should have public school options; this is true local control."

According to an Associated Press report, Deal also pointed out that in 2010, Barge wrote that he agreed with the Georgia Charter Schools Association that local school boards, the state school board and the now defunct state Charter School Commission should all have power to “approve and monitor charter schools.”

Barge said the governor is confusing support for charter schools with support for this proposed amendment.

How will you vote on Nov. 6? Why do you support or oppose this amendment? Should the state be able to approve charter schools denied by local school boards?

Dusty August 24, 2012 at 01:19 AM
A process already exists to create quality charter schools. It involves decisions made at the local level, with a locally elected board of education. If the local board denies a charter school then a process already exists through state law to allow a charter school not approved by its local board of education to petition to the State Board of Education to operate as a school. HR 1162 just creates a new bureaucracy that will be funded by pulling even more funds directly from public schools. These charter schools will be approved by a commission made up of political appointees, be allowed to skirt local control, and funnel millions to for-profit education management companies. This will not create high quality charter schools, it will only further erode Georgia's already abysmal financial support of public education.
Kim Wigington October 08, 2012 at 09:00 PM
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/External-Affairs-and-Policy/Charter-Schools/Pages/Frequently-Asked-Questions-for-New-Petitioners.aspx The new ammendment is actually in the school board's favor. Here's why Charter Schools work much like a voucher program. If a local school board approves it, the charter school gets state and local funds. If the local school board does not approve the charter school and the state does, then the local school board gets to keep all the local funds and does not have to use it to educate the students who attend the charter school. More money+Less students=more spent per student. The state approved charter school only gets the amount of money the state has designated for the specific students who attend the charter school. None of the local or federal money goes to the state approved charter school. The local school board gets to keep it. Automatically the amount of money spent per pupil increases for the local school board. The state approved charter school would have to operate on just the state funding which is determined by FTE counts in the public schools. Taxes would not be raised. Charter school funds would just be lowered. Charter schools ARE public schools. By law they cannot pick and choose which students to accept. They have to either have a lottery or take students first come first served much like pre-k spots are filled. They cannot charge tuition or pick and choose students. More choice is always good.
Michael Tappler November 03, 2012 at 11:57 AM
When you look at the fact that districts with successful charter schools, appear to get vindictive when “money”, over educating takes front and center, we harm our children in the worst possible way. Some people argue about big government, but they don’t stop to look at big central offices of school districts. Others negate the fact, that if a school district is doing great, there is rarely a need for charter schools. Charter schools are needed, not out of luxury but out of necessity. When school district is not able to meet the obligation to educate, all options should be on the table. Some say that they are against charter schools being sanctioned by the state, because education management companies could line the pockets of politicians. Good argument, but we forget that they could more easily line the pockets of board members in local school districts. In reality, a state approved charter schools will only happen when the local districts deny them without merit. It is similar to an appeal process, whereby the petitioner is not being taken seriously by the local school district. Think of this scenario. Parents and concerned community stakeholders in a failing school district come together and construct a great “concept school” (that is research based) for their community. They, as a community, then move forward to initiate the idea with their districts board and their local board says NO! What is the recourse in this scenario? If you vote no, there is none.
Michael Tappler November 03, 2012 at 12:06 PM
Above all, an argument I that I believe is missing from this discussion is this. If the state department was to authorize a charter school, and no one attended the charter school, it would close. So what is the real harm with voting yes? State governments do not automatically fund charter schools when they open. Charter schools have to be attended, and then the money will flow to that charter school in approximately 60-90 days thereafter (FTE). Voting no, will ultimately silence parents and community stakeholders who want better for their school community. One might say, “They could work within the system to demand that change”. The answer to that is they already have, and where we are in education is a result of it.
Albert November 06, 2012 at 09:34 PM
I would say vote the board members out. Vote Board members in that share the kid center values that the majority of the community have. Unless that's not the majority opinion. I believe that a elected school board has the collective authority to make all public schools in their district charter school. That will instill some accountability and cost savings. The best of both worlds and we don't have to heat & cool two building with our tax dollars.

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