The Great Charter School Debate: Part 2

I’ll let the following do the talking for this post. If you live in Georgia, read carefully, and make an educated decision moving forward for November 6th:

On November 6, Georgians will vote on a proposed change to Georgia’s Constitution that has significant
implications for the state’s public schools. Below are some facts about the constitutional amendment toeducate voters on this issue.

Amendment 1:
Provides for improving student achievement and parental
involvement through more public charter school options
(House Resolution 1162)
“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to
allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of
local communities?
Yes or No?”

8 Things to Know About Amendment 1…
1. Amendment 1 is not about charter schools but about who approves them and
how they are funded. It calls for a third party to authorize state charter schools that
have not been approved by locally elected boards of education.

2. The ballot question gives the impression that the state cannot approve
charter school applications now. Georgia law authorizes local school boards
to review charter school applications, and allows for an appeal to be made to
the state if an application is denied. There are more than 110 charter schools
operating in Georgia today, 15 of them approved by the state.

3. Amendment 1 makes way for the creation of a politically appointed state
commission with the authority to approve charter schools. In 2011, the
Georgia Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional for an appointed state
commission to create and fund charter schools. With Amendment 1 state
leaders are seeking to rewrite the Constitution and bring back the state’s
former charter school commission. The seven members would be appointed
by the State Board of Education, also an appointed body, from a list
recommended by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Speaker of the
House. Local boards of education, on the other hand, are elected by and
accountable to the people in the community they serve.

4. For many years Georgia has not funded traditional public schools and
locally approved charter schools as required by state law. In 2012 a school
district receives only about 85 cents of every dollar it earns based on the state’s QBE funding formula.

5. If approved, the state commission will determine how much tax-supported funding its charter schools will
receive. The Governor’s 2013 budget includes $8 million for the 15 state-approved charter schools now in operation.
Because of HB 797 passed in the 2012 General Assembly, at least $20 million more will be needed in the 2013
supplemental budget for those 15 schools, which serve 15,000 children compared to the 1.6 million taught in
traditional public schools.

6. State School Superintendent John Barge reports that the state will provide signifi cantly more money
(72% more) per student in state special charter schools ($7,400) as it provides for traditional public school
students ($4,290). Based on the average number of schools approved yearly by the defunct charter commission (seven
schools), an additional $430 million in state funds will be needed over the next fi ve years to pay for commission-approved
charter schools.

7. Passage of Amendment 1 will lead to the establishment of a dual system of public schools in Georgia, one
under local control (elected local boards of education) and the other under state control (an appointed state
commission). The governing boards of the state-controlled charter schools would not be required to follow the same
ethics code or accreditation mandates required of local boards of education.

8. Funding for the campaign in support of Amendment 1 is coming almost exclusively (95%) from outside of
Georgia. Contributors include many for-profi t education management organizations that stand to benefi t from
passage of Amendment 1, and from out-of-state corporations and large foundations. (Source: August 31 offi cial
campaign disclosure forms)

Developed for informational purposes only. Learn more about the different views regarding Amendment 1 by visiting
http://www.votesmartgeorgia.com and http://www.bettergaschools.org.

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