Amendment 1 Passage Stirs Reactions from Bibb County BOE Members
Georgia voters approved the controversial Amendment 1, known as the charter school amendment on Tuesday.
It passed by a margin of 58 percent to 42 percent. The amendment will re-establish a state commission to approve charter schools. However, some members from the Bibb County Board of Education have different views about the amendment’s impact on the public school system.
"If we have more opportunities, more competition it might improve the local output by the local Board of Education," Bibb County BOE member Gary Bechtel said.
Bechtel said Amendment 1 will allow parents in Bibb County more choices when deciding on a school for their children. While a charter school is not currently established in Bibb County, Bechtel said that will most likely change in the upcoming years with the amendment's passage. He also said this will hopefully make the Bibb County BOE look more closely at charter schools before denying them.
"The districts will take a more serious look at the charter petitions and ask questions,” Bechtel said.
However, not all Bibb County BOE members are pleased with the amendment's passage.
"I think that it's wrong that we would have to take away from public education to fund charter schools and not really have much say so in terms of how they run them," Bibb County BOE member, Tom Hudson said.
Hudson said he is upset about the BOE no longer having control over the issue and money leaving traditional public schools.
"The money will follow the students and if you have students that go to charter schools then we will have to fund them, therefore it will take away some of the resources that we have," Hudson said.
However, Bechtel said money is not the issue, the BOE stewardship of it, is the problem.
"They haven't done well with the money that they have control over here,” Bechtel said. “We have a superintendent that spent $450,000 on a forensic audit to go after two board members. That was a waste of money.”
Either way, both men have their opinion regarding the amendment and its potential effect on Bibb County schools.
"I'm totally opposed to it, the concept,” Hudson said. “I have no problem with charter schools as long as it’s locally controlled."
"This offers choices and I'm looking out for parents and children. I'm not looking out for adults."