House Education called a meeting today immediately upon adjournment to hear another version of HR 1162
. Very few changes were made, and they are indicated below. Once again, the House Education Committee recommends this version for passage. This observer thought they changed the lipstick they put on the pig, but the pig continues to exist in this legislation.
One group, who also opposes this constitutional amendment, has shared these talking points. Use them when you call your legislator, the sooner the better. One well placed informant indicated it could be on the House floor as early as tomorrow. CALL NOW.
HR 1162 IS NOT ABOUT CHARTER SCHOOLS: The proposed amendment would enable political appointees to override the decisions of local school boards and local voters and re-direct tax funds to any “special school” the state creates or designates. Charter schools are only one type of special school – and there is a better way to solve the charter school issue without giving up local control or expanding the reach of government in education.
MAKES TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION CONSTITUTIONAL:HR 1162 enables the General Assembly to re-direct tax funds to any type of special school over the objections of local boards and local taxpayers. The funds would be spent by political appointees, who have no obligation to respect the wishes of voters. There is no appeals process, no referendum and no proof that a school was denied authorization or is even necessary.
GIVES THE STATE UNPRECEDENTED, UNCHECKED POWER: HR 1162 would give the General Assembly unlimited power to decide and define what constitutes a "special school" under the Georgia Constitution. The amendment does not define or limit “special schools.” It also prohibits the Supreme Court from reviewing state use of these new powers by using such a broad term.
BALLOT QUESTION MISLEADS VOTERS: The ballot measure language mischaracterizes the current state ofGeorgialaw: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?”
Locally approved charter schools are currently constitutional – and this amendment is not necessary to confirm their status. Many, if not most, voters may believe that they are deciding whether any local charter schools may continue to operate, rather than only whether the state will be permitted to create its own competing system of local charter schools.
Despite the ballot language “upon the request of local communities," the local community will have no input in the state creation of “special schools” including charter schools.
SUCH A BROAD AMENDMENT IS NOT NECESSARY: The Supreme Court expressly limited their decision to the constitutionality of the Charter Commission Act. Nothing in the Court's opinion questions the State's power to set standards and regulations for K-12 education or conditions for local receipt of state financial assistance.
CA= constitutional amendment. Requires a 2/3rds vote in each chamber and approval in a statewide referendum held on the next general election date, November 2012.
HB 760, Coleman – 97 PASSED House
Eliminates the fast growth capital outlay program for local school systems. Expands the regular capital growth by $100 million per year to provide resources. A recommendation of the Education Finance Commission. Only 18 systems this year qualified for fast growth which requires at least 65 additional students and 1.5% increase. Many school systems had a far greater increase in student growth but it did not meet the 1.5% test. This change will allow all school systems with growth to participate.
EDUCATION -- preparing our children for productive adulthood
HR 1162, Jones – 46 OPPOSE DO PASS in H.Education
CA to allow state legislature to determine policy for local boards of education including which charter schools to approve. The proposed language amends the clause that says public education for the citizens prior to the college or postsecondary level shall be free and shall be provided for by taxation, “and the General Assembly may by general law provide for the establishment of education policies for such public education.” To the clause defining the local school board having the power to manage and control local schools is added “provided, however, that the authority provided for in this paragraph shall not diminish any authority of the General Assembly otherwise granted under this article, including the authority to establish
and maintainspecial schools ….” Further, “Special schools mayshall include charter schools, as defined and provided for by law, provided however, that special schools shall only be public schools.” The enabling legislation, which shall be HB 797, has not yet been seen in its substitute form. Thus, we are not sure what is going to be provided by law. The General Assembly seems bent on insuring that local boards of education shall never make a decision that cannot be overruled under the gold dome, and requiring the local board to pay the costs for students that are not enrolled in their schools. Discussion indicated that the enabling legislation would provide for a ‘charter school commission’ type of authorizer and that the funding would probably be by taking money away from the QBE allotment of the local school system. That’s taking money away from your student to fund charter school students!
EDUCATION -- preparing our children for productive adulthood
HB 894, Black – 174 H.Government Affairs
To dissolve an independent school system, a local referendum must be voted on by voters in the independent schools districtand
voters in the county school district. Must pass by a majority. Currently, independent school districts can just give up their local charter and the county school system becomes the overseer of those students and schools. It is unclear if ‘a majority’ means the majority of those voting (the usual interpretation) or a majority of voters in each school system.
HB 896, Coleman – 97 H.Education
Enabling legislation for HR 1150. ESPLOST revenues, shared between a county school system and one or more independent school systems within that county, are to be distributed only by the share of FTEs each has to the total.
HR 1277, Neal – 75 H.Education
Creates a 5 member House Study Committee on Expulsion School Creation to study providing a way for expelled students for non violent offenses to continue to receive educational services. Report due12-31-12.
HR 1325, Holcomb – 86 H.Education
CA to permit the state to create charter schools but to forbid the state from taking any money from the local school districts from which those students come. The Democratic answer to HR 1162.
Education Policy, GPTA