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Georgia group supports charter school amendment

ALBANY, Ga. -- Georgia voters will decide Nov. 6 if charter schools in the state will continue to exist in a kind of limbo.

In 2011 the Georgia Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that local school boards have exclusive authority to grant these charters. While there remains a right of appeal should a charter applicant be denied, many think a amendment to the Georgia constitution is the only realistic future for Georgia charter schools.

Mark Peevy, executive director of Families for Better Public Schools, offered his opinion on the subject Monday during a conference call with members of The Albany Herald's Editorial Board. Other interested contributors to the conference were Michael Sullivan, also with FBPB, and the Rev. Tony Lowden, executive director of Stone Academy in Macon, a charter school.

Peevy said proponents of charter schools shouldn't rely on appeal, as there is a legal consensus it would disappear with the first lawsuit. He feels an amendment is the best, and possibly only, answer.

"We have hundreds of quality, fantastic charter schools out here," Peevy said, "and the last thing we want is anything that would encourage them to go away."

Sullivan agreed, noting that local school districts aren't typically warm to the idea of school charters.

"For whatever reason, there are a lot of school districts that oppose the charters," Sullivan said. "They just don't like them. Having a fair, unbiased commission to take that appeal to is what's needed."

On Nov. 6, Georgians will decide this question on their election ballots: Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?

According to FBPB, if Amendment One is approved, communities will have direct control over the charter process. In practice, applicants for a charter must first demonstrate community support for the school, Peevy said. That could be through signatures, surveys or other means, showing commitments in numbers two to three times the school's planned enrollment.

Peevy said charter schools are nonprofit, available to all children and have local governing boards composed "almost exclusively" of parents, teachers and community members. They are funded by the state and by law may take no community funds or property taxes.

For Lowden, the charter school concept is all about providing the greatest education with corresponding accountability for schools and teachers.

"Here's one for you," Lowden said. "Try to fire a bad teacher in our current system. Try to close a bad school in our current system."

Peevy said bad schools and teachers don't continue very long in the charter system because the charter would eventually be revoked. In fact, according to FBPB, Georgia charter schools typically outperform traditional public schools in "almost every category."

Comments

MRKIA 1 year, 6 months ago

PLEASE TURN ALL THE SCHOOLS IN DOUGHERTY CO. INTO CHARTER SCHOOLS.

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chinaberry25 1 year, 6 months ago

No, you take no property taxes, but that is what this vote is for. So you can take away fromt he majority of the students to give our property taxes to your school. If this is not so, them why are we even speaking of this? And as far as I know public schools are non-profit too.

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TRUTH101 1 year, 6 months ago

SMH…..This was not a great representation……LOL….. I couldn’t understand half of your argument ....VOTE NO!!!!! The problem with education is that everybody thinks they know more about education than the educators….. I don’t see Billy Bob the truck driver attempting to tell doctors how to be doctors….. To many chiefs and not enough Indians!!!!

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Francis 1 year, 6 months ago

Chinaberry, read the amendment....not the wording on the ballot, but the entire amendment. It doesn't mention receiving any of the local tax base and it is absolutely not about taking tax dollars from the local schools. The whole purpose of the amendment is to provide an alternate way of authorizing charter schools when the local school board turns down a petition. Yes, the DCSS has several charter schools; however, they only became charter schools when they had been on the Needs Improvement so long that their only other option was to close the school or become a charter school. Look at the schools' performance since then and I don't think you'll see much of a difference.

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tywebb 1 year, 6 months ago

so, once they became charter schools there was no improvement? that's one thing opponents of the bill are saying......charter schools don't perform any better. and if local boards turn down a petition, there is an appeals process in place already. ask petulla charter. where do you think the state money is going to come from to run these charter schools? how about from tax money that normally goes to the public schools

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tywebb 1 year, 6 months ago

Georgia is a right to work state. NO UNIONS. firing teachers here is easier than unionized states IF you can show that they aren't doing their job. due process.

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ugagirl 1 year, 6 months ago

Chinaberry: You have INCORRECT information. NO local tax dollars will be spent on charter schools. The funding comes from the state, NOT local money. I also recommend you take a look at the GA Dept of Education website on charter schools.

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/External-Affairs-and-Policy/Charter-Schools/Pages/General-Frequently-Asked-Questions.aspx

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Francis 1 year, 6 months ago

State charter schools, unlike locally approved charter schools, out performed the local school systems in all areas of the CRCT.

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tiredofit 1 year, 6 months ago

Look at the makeup of most charter schools, mostly white, 2 parent familys,middle class working families that want a private school at no cost to them. It can be called whatever you want but facts are facts. If state has to fund charter schools it should also have to fund private schools ( (because the money follows the child.)

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revolutionnow 1 year, 6 months ago

There is a growing trend of black ,middle class, two parent families that are seeking a better school environment in private schools or charter schools. The state funds should follow those students to which ever school they choose. The school boards are not always comprised of people who can make decisions based on what's best for the students and the tax payers.

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kurtgeorgia 1 year, 6 months ago

Francis, you need to check your facts. The state charter school in our area did not out perform the local systems in ALL areas of the CRCT. They actually out performed the local systems in only 48% of the CRCT areas, and most of those areas were science and social studies. Considering the fact that the majority of charter school students have parents who can afford to provide them with science and social studies experiences (vacations, museums, cultural activities, etc.), higher performance in those areas is no surprise. BTW...if you take science and social studies out of the equation, the charter school out performed the local systems in only three (20%) areas: 3rd Grade Math, 4th Grade Reading, and 6th Grade Math. Source: www.gadoe.org>

TRUTH101 1 year, 6 months ago

Baconton Charter DID NOT out perform Mitchell County Middle..........

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FryarTuk 1 year, 6 months ago

Vote yes for the charter school ammendment. Public schools are politically focused not child focused. Look at the sorry mess DCSS is in. Let the money follow the child not the politician. Take the money away from the corrupt rogues that run school systems. Too many sports, too many hands in the till, too many administrators, not enough classes. Public schools in Georgia should be turned up side down.

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tywebb 1 year, 6 months ago

So, you want to put it in the hands of NON-ELECTED people in Atl? At least with local boards, there's a CHANCE (allbeit a small one in racist albany) that you can vote out the incompetent ones! What happens when the appointed ones become the corrupt rogues? then what are you going to do? like truth101 stated earlier.....too many chiefs.....and with a yes vote there will be even MORE chiefs! VOTE NO on Ammendment 1 (and yes on Ammendment 2)!

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tiredofit 1 year, 6 months ago

I do not know for sureI but was told that Pataula Charter do not score any bettter than Calhoun County on test

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