Georgia PTA's Recommendation -- Vote NO on Constitutional Amendment
by Sally FitzGerald on 7/1/2012


“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?”

This misleading language will be on our ballots in November 2012. Here is the rest of the story.

  • Charter schools are already allowed by local boards of education, and if the charter is denied, the applicants may apply to the state board of education to become a charter.
  • "Local communities" almost never are charter applicants. Individuals are, and for profit educational management organizations.
  • For profit educational management organizations have given large amounts to the reelection campaigns of all sponsors of this legislation. Hmmmmm!
  • The enabling legislation for this amendment restores the appointed Charter School Commission, declared unconstitutional by the GA Supreme Court, with powers to put schools in any locality without permission from or even notification to the local board of education.
  • The Commission is appointed by the state board of education, also an appointed body accountable only to the governor. Local board of education members are elected and thus accountable to you and other voters in your community.
  • Local school districts, however, have to provide 5 mills of their local property tax revenue to get state QBE funding.  Commission chater schools are charged only for an average of the 5 poorest school systems in the state.

  • Commission chartered schools get a capital outlay grant, an average per pupil of the ESPLOSTs in all systems, not just those same 5 poorest, with no requirement to use the funds for capital purposes.

  • A commission chartered school will receive more money for any student in any program than that same student would earn for a school, traditional or charter, under the aegis of a local board of education. This is inequity of funding – a favored class of students.
  • Local school districts currently share in the $1.15 BILLION in annual cuts to the QBE formula. The state foresees no immediate improvement in revenues. So where is this additional funding for commission charter schools to come from? Most likely from your school and mine.

PTA has no objections to charter schools approved by a local board of education. We reject the state power grab from local communities in the education of their children, the financial inequities, and the overt attention being given to those who intend to profit from the education of children.

 GA PTA recommends a NO vote.

August 2012                                                   #####