Charter schools amendment passes the Senate

After being bogged down in the Senate, the HR 1162 — the charter schools amendment — has finally passed and will go onto voters for approval this fall:

The Georgia Senate passed a resolution Monday that would send a constitutional amendment to voters that would allow them to determine how much authority the state should have to approve and fund charter schools.

Monday’s vote was the culmination of an intense lobbying effort driven by the fact that the resolution, House Resolution 1162, needed to be approved by a two-thirds majority. It was approved by a vote of 40-16, two more votes than were needed.

Democrats had put up a wall of opposition to the resolution, but a pair of Democrats spoke in favor of it on Monday.

“I’m always going to be for public education, and that’s what this is,” said state Sen. Steve Thompson, D-Marietta.
Separate legislation that would spell out how the amendment, if approved, would be implemented has been passed in the House but has still not been passed in the Senate. That legislation, House Bill 797, would seem likely to pass now that Republican charter school backers have pushed the amendment legislation through.

I would assume the lobbying against the amendment is far from over as teachers unions will likely mount a campaign against, but legislators have done their part in moving it forward. Kudos to the Senate Democrats that went against their party to get this passed.


  1. Dissent says:

    The gradual eroding of public education will soon become a flood that washes away all of the remaining vestiges of public schooling. People who care will look back at the passing of this resolution as the final push off of the cliff.

    Those Senators and Representatives who voted for this matter will find themselves hard pressed to explain to their local boards of education how this matter is good for their community. There will not doubt be some when will claim that this matter is good for local schools but in the end it will be a lie. Money from a shrinking pot will be diverted to other areas and the only way to replace it will be from additional local taxes. The State will not raise taxes to fund additional charter schools and you are lying to yourself if you think 50+ additional schools will not require more money.

    Additionally, what ever happened to local control? Don’t give me the garbage about what DeKalb, ATL or Gwinnett school boards have done. There are over 200 school districts in the State of Georgia. City districts and county districts, districts with 1000 children and those with 100,000 thousand children will lose funding. Why should the communities in Muscogee, Fanning, Paulding, Richmond, etc. be made to endure the solution for a Metro Atlanta problem? Most of these school districts have not seen a charter application let alone reject one. Yet the charter school supporters will tell us that our local communities don’t have a voice and that the local boards don’t listen to their concerns. How will a commission in Atlanta be better?

  2. UpHere says:

    There is much more at stake than just local or commission charter schools. But, that is the drum beat that PAGE is beating. Local school boards only scream “local control” when it is something they don’t want. But, they will accept state using its authority for class size ratios or a state salary scale or the State Health Benefit Plan or teacher pensions.

    It is sad because ALL state authority when it comes to education could be challenged due to the Supreme Court decision when it stated that local school boards have “exclusive” control. So, should the state just send the check and not have any say in how that money is spent?

  3. Bruce Kendall says:

    This drive is faced by desperate parents who have abandoned all hope of better schools within their communities. However, I fear this is quietly fuelled by those who are more concerned with money, political influence, and special interests.

    The argument has not been backed by facts. One of which was that Georgia Charter schools on average do not perform as well as the average public school.

    On December 30, 2011, the Georgia DOE, Charter School Division released their “Chartering in Georgia 2010-2011” Annual Report. On page 27 you will find comparison results for schools making AYP; public schools 73% vs. charters 70%.

    There was no DOE press release this year!

    In addition, there has been no discussion of note about For-Profit Charter Schools, known to divert up to 43% of the funds designated for instruction away from the classroom for management fees, and rent. Rent sounds innocent until your discover the following standard practice. The principle management company creates a subsidiary company that purchases the school property, which is then leased back to the parent management company; which is legal.

    Guess where the money comes from?

    There is more but it is getting late!

    • UpHere says:

      I would like to see your stats to back up the management fees charging up to 43% because all the information I have seen is 8-15%.

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