On September 25, the Heard County Board of Education passed a resolution opposing the Charter School Amendment which will be on the ballot in next week’s general election.
A portion of the resolution reads: “be it resolved that the Heard County Board of Education urges the Governor and State Legislators to commit to adequately fund quality public school education for all K-12 students in Heard County and throughout Georgia; to acknowledge the countless, unheralded successes of public schools in the state; to cease efforts to erode local control of public schools, and to encourage the innovation, flexibility, and accountability that are necessary for Georgia’s public schools to continuously improve; and that the Heard County Board of Education does hereby request that voters of the State of Georgia oppose the Constitutional amendment relative to state approval of charter schools, which will be on the November 6, 2012 General Election ballot.”
Heard County Superintendent Jerry Prince, like other opponents of the amendment, believe that the wording of the amendment on the ballots is highly confusing to voters.
The question on the ballot reads: ”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 Prince the amendment is misleading because Charter schools can already be approved by either the local school board or the State Board of Education.
The amendment would serve to create a third option which would be a state appointed commission which would involve no elected officials. Another concern of Prince is the possibility of a further loss of state funding for local schools which have already been reduced significantly during the past few years.
”The state is already failing to send us upwards of 100K per month of the funds they are required to by law so I don’t understand how at this point, under these financial circumstances, the state can propose that we need to start more schools up (against the wishes of our local boards of education) and fund them at a higher level and at the same time say it is not going to hurt our schools financially. One of my main concerns is that our school system is going to lose even more money. We have already cut the number of school days in our school year and lost several good teachers because of these cuts,” stated Prince.
Proponents say this amendment is needed because some school districts find it too difficult, and sometimes impossible, to replace their school board members through elections.