The question on this November's election ballot concerning charter schools is, "Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of a public charter schools upon the request of local communities."
Let's look at the facts why no should be your vote.
- We already have a charter school amendment! This year's ballot is not voting on whether to have the, but who should control them. The wording of this one is very confusing.
In reality, what this one does is give the state more power by removing control from local voters and the local school board. We do not need more bureaucrats who know little about our schools involved.
- Your tax dollars can be siphoned from Georgia schools. Already the state has cut $4 billion from Georgia schools over the past four years and 7.7 million from Tift County schools. Georgia would have better schools if funding were adequate.
If this passes, the money to fund them must come from somewhere. There could be more budget cuts or raised taxes, more teacher furloughs, layoffs and shortened school years. This would force every county to have a dual school system, whether school patrons want it or not ... when we are already stretched to the limits.
- This will give unchecked power to unelected political appointees.
A charter management company in Florida has successfully bypassed local governments. Working with real estate companies that lease schools to the company, they avoid local control and local taxes.
Is this what we want to risk happening in Georgia?
- Georgia already has 200 charter schools. Parents do have a choice.
Last year, the Georgia Supreme Court struck down a 2008 law that allowed the state to create and fund state charter schools with local school funds against the wishes of the local community. This is just another attempt to sneak this in and overrule the court.
- There is already in place a process of appeal if a charter school is not approved by a local school board. We don't need another law.
I urge you to go to votesmartgeorgia.org to check out the facts and vote no on the charter amendment this year. Don't allow our school system to be controlled by state officials or outside profit agencies. Our children are important!
O'Neal Bozeman of Tifton is a retired school administrator with the Tift County School System.