Oconee School Board Asks Voters to Oppose Charter Schools Amendment
The Board adopted a resolution Monday "for the purpose of supporting quality Georgia public education."
The Oconee County Board of Education has joined other school boards in Georgia that are weighing in on the proposed charter schools constitutional amendment.
The amendment would set up a state commission to approve charter schools in communities even if the local school board opposed it, and to give the charter schools state money, according to Athens Patch.
What do you think about the Oconee BOE's resolution? Tell us in the comments below.
Monday the BOE passed a resolution asking voters to oppose the referendum when they head to the polls Nov. 6. The decision was unanimous and came without discussion.
The resolution states the BOE "supports locally approved charter schools or those approved by the State Board of Education as provided for in current Georgia law" but at the same time it "believes that the Georgia Supreme Court ruled correctly in declaring it unconstitutional for an appointed state commission to approve charter schools over the objection of the duly elected local board of education and the Georgia State Board of Education, which is accountable to the taxpaying public."
Chairman David Weeks said the BOE's opposition "is due to the fact that they're going to pulling local control away from the local school boards." He continued, "We're all for choice, but we're also for keeping the local funds in the hands of the local school board."
The resolution notes public education is already underfunded, prompting Weeks to ask: "Our question to the state legislature is: if you can't even support our schools fully, how are you going to support another level of charter schools?"
Superintendent Jason Branch said Oconee County Schools hasn't received over $26.5 million since 2003 in earned state funding.
"So not only are we not being funded adequately and fully -- as the resolution speaks of -- but the discussion now is about creating a second pot of money somewhere and we're curious as to where that second pot of money exists."
State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge has been outspoken about his opposition to the amendment, but backed off last week when his use of the Georgia Department of Education's website to post materials about the referendum was challenged, the AP reported.
Oconee School Board member Kim Argo said she and others recently attended a program, hosted by several Regional Education Services Agencies, where the referendum was discussed.
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