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Community Responds to State Superintendent’s Position on Charter Schools

Georgia Schools Superintendent Dr. John Barge has publicly said he opposes an amendment that would give the state the authority to grant charters for independent schools.

Responses are mixed after State Superintendent Dr. John Barge announced that he opposes an amendment that would allow the state the authority to grant charters to independent schools.

The Georgia Association of Educators has

“We truly appreciate the state’s top education official standing up for Georgia’s 1.6 million kids and against the November 6 constitutional amendment on charter schools. Dr. Barge sees first-hand the impact this constitutional amendment would have on ensuring every child in Georgia has fair access to a quality education,” said GAE President Calvine Rollins in a press release. 

Not surprisingly, charter school supporters are less than pleased. 

“Charter schools are public schools,” said Rhonda Gatch, co-founder of Moms for School Choice. “It was kind of treated like we were the red-headed stepchild. We’re public schools just like traditional public schools. We wish that our Georgia state superintendent would represent all students and all teachers in their public schools instead of being so divisive. 

At this time only local school boards can grant charters, however

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Barge opposes the amendment because it threatens local control, but also because of its potential financial impact.

"Putting this whole picture together, I could not stand by without voicing my opposition to sending any money anywhere else until our children are in schools 180 days and our teachers are at full pay," Barge said to the Associated Press.

But for Gatch, the amendment is about putting students’ futures ahead of finances.

“Ultimately we think that the money should follow the student,” she said. “Just like when a student moves out of the district, the district adjusts. So they can also adjust to a child wanting to move in to a charter school. Financially with their budget they can adjust to those changes. There’s room in their budget to do that.”

What do you think about the State Superintendent’s opposition to the amendment? Are you voting for or against the amendment in November? Tell us in the comments.

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contented-NOT August 16, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Wow, this makes me think there is a big difference in State funding (our tax money) between county operated schools and the charter schools.
Bruce August 16, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Brian, the state does not fund charter schools or anything else. We, the taxpayers, pay for all this. EVERY PENNY of govt. spending. It's our money and we should be able to decide how to spend it, not a bunch of unelected bureaucrats of ignorant, corrupt politicians.
C.J. August 17, 2012 at 02:45 PM
RE: "It's our money and we should be able to decide how to spend it, not a bunch of unelected bureaucrats..." No, it's not our money. We elect our government representatives and we have to pay for the goods and services that our government provides (including schools), just like you have to pay the dinner tab after you've finished your meal. Incidentally, school board members are not unelected bureaucrats. They're elected. Disagreeing with you does not mean that they are corrupt.
Supporter September 20, 2012 at 05:07 PM
The issue with money as I understand it, is that the State would give "more money for a charter school student", but that NO local/county $ goes to that student. So, my son, who IS in a Public ONLINE School, only gets the money allotted to him by the state. The County taxes that we pay STAYS in the county for students that are in public "brick and mortar" schools in that county.
contented-NOT September 20, 2012 at 06:40 PM
The county should make ALL of the county schools "charter" and then the funding issue would be resolved?

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