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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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Kristen Sudduth August 15, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Will the state be funding these Charter Schools independently from CCSD? I'm pretty sure it's going to be a tough pill to swallow for parents who are already being forced to accept shorter school years, furloughs for teachers, larger class sizes, etc in addition to the next round of SPLOST we can anticipate, just so 800 or so kids can go to what personally I think is viewed as "free private school". If you are not happy with your local school, you have the option of relocating or choosing a private school. The state should in no way be allowed to shove the costs of additional schools on the county with out recourse, that just doesn't make sense. I'd much rather see that money spent to get our teachers and students back in school for 180 days in smaller class sizes.
Ed Uktr August 15, 2012 at 07:56 PM
All members of the Georgia Association of Educators are required to pay an extra $168 yearly to also belong to the National Education Association. And the NEA's opposition to parental choice is legend. Rent the film WAITING FOR SUPERMAN to learn how this harms all of us truly concerned with education. Do a Google search on "NEA" and "donations" and you'll see the NEA is little more than a cash-cow for Democrats—and for every liberal-left pressure group in the news! Furthermore, the NEA endorses only Democrats for president or governor here in Georgia. Never Republicans or independents.
Lissa K. August 15, 2012 at 08:42 PM
NEA supports Democrats BECAUSE DEMOCRATS SUPPORT PUBLIC EDUCATION. Republicans do not - they are trying to destroy every government agency that exists including public education.
Brian August 15, 2012 at 09:07 PM
The state has to fund the charter schools if the state approves it. It would be unreasonable to pull more money from the county government, and the county can't cut down schools. The only exception would be if it can be proven that doing so would prevent a new school or expansion for regular public schools in the area of the charter school for the next 5-10 years. The only other exception, in my mind, are the schools that are already far along on the drawing board and got axed by the recent changes, when the promise had already been made to open those schools.
Brian August 15, 2012 at 09:42 PM
agreed. A funding mechanism is needed before the school can be approved. The only exception, I believe may be the schools that already were promised, for credibility reasons.
Observer August 15, 2012 at 10:23 PM
NEA supports Democrats BECAUSE DEMOCRATS SUPPORT INDOCTRINATION. There I fixed that for you.
Observer August 15, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Why would it be unreasonable to expect the county to fund a charter school? Don't those parents pay county taxes? Why not just let the money follow the child? I send my children to private school and I don't see any advocating that I should be able to retain the school taxes that I pay that benefit other peoples children.
C.J. August 15, 2012 at 11:07 PM
RE: " Why not just let the money follow the child?" Anybody with any business knowledge knows about fixed expenses, variable expenses and mixed (fixed/variable) expenses. Unless you shut down a school entirely, a school's administration, building, fixtures, supplies and teachers still have to be maintained--even after a child leaves to go from one school to another. I'm fine if any savings from a child leaving that school go with the child. However, what do such variable expenses amount to? The cost of a student's desk? The system still has to continue to pay for nearly everything else associated with the school that was left behind. The other issue, thoroughly under-reported, is the fact that the state isn't fulfilling its legal obligation to fund schools under QBE. Despite not meeting these requirements, the state is seeking to fund charter schools directly. They can't find the money for existing school systems, but they can somehow find money for new charter schools? We're being scammed.
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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