I voted for Deal, but strongly disagree with the Governor on this issue. We don't need outside groups coming into our state and getting their hands on "our" tax dollars which this bill will allow. Our public schools are already suffering enough from a lack of funding through tax revenues due to the depressed economy. I'm all for the best education possible, and don't have any problem with private schools. But I don't want my tax dollars to go to private schools. If anyone wants to go private that's great, but they have to pay their own way. Also, be careful when you vote, this item is going to be INTENTIONALLY worded to make you think it's the best thing since sliced bread!!! I applaud Alvin Wilbanks, the School Superintendent from Gwinnett County schools and many other local County School Superintendents are publicly speaking out about this issue and encouraging people to vote against it because of the harm it will do to our public schools through a huge reduction in tax revenues. I'm extremely disappointed that our local education leaders are not voicing an opinion on this issue. Folks, be careful and do your homework on this BEFORE you vote!
Also it's very interesting that our State School Superintendent is bucking the Gov. and Lt. Gov. on this issue and has come out AGAINST this constitutional amendment. Here's some more info below copied from a legislative website:
Gary Hobbs, superintendent for Walton County Public Schools, spoke out against the legislatively-proposed amendment saying, "It’s disappointing to me the legislative folks would try to go around a Supreme Court decision." He went further to criticize the state's push for taxpayer funded charter schools saying, "We don’t have funds to support the public schools we have now, much less start another system funded by taxpayer money."
Georgia Schools Superintendent John Barge, a Republican, has announced his opposition to the measure, saying, "I cannot support the creation of a new and costly state bureaucracy that takes away local control of schools and unnecessarily duplicates the good work already being done by local districts, the Georgia Department of Education, and the state Board of Education. What's more, this constitutional amendment would direct taxpayer dollars into the pockets of out-of-state, for-profit charter school companies whose schools perform no better than traditional public schools and locally approved charter schools (and worse, in some cases)."
Tom Crawford, in an August 21 op-ed piece for the Blackshear Times, highlighted counterpoints to several arguments made by supporters of the charter school amendment. Some of Crawford's key points included: there is enough existing choice for parents because there are already 315 charter schools compared to the just over 500 public schools, studies have shown that charter schools perform no better than public schools on average, charter schools divert money from already strapped public schools that are being forced to shorten their academic calendars.
Some opponents argue that the amendment would harm public education in the state by directing even more state money from public schools to out-of-state for-profit systems. Russell J. Edwards, an Athens attorney and community activist, argues that such a practice is especially harmful because the housing crisis has caused the primary funding for public education, local property tax receipts, to decrease significantly.