Charter School Amendment Back on the Ballot
Georgia's charter schools amendment is back on the November ballot despite being ruled unconstitutional just two years ago.
The amendment would allow a state committee established by the the legislature and governor to approve applications for charter schools that have been rejected by local school boards. An issue that leaves some people in Middle Georgia divided over supporting it. One local official strongly opposing the amendment is Houston County school Superintendent, Robin Hines.
"The issue is the local control of the school system," Hines said.
Charter schools are publicly financed but privately operated, and may offer specialized classes. If passed, more money will be attached to students attending a charter school.
"To have some commission from outside of the county to establish schools in there and fund them, at almost two and half times higher than the schools that are currently funded including the current charter schools, just doesn't seem to be fair,” Hines said.
Hines said if the amendment passes, a fifth grader at a public school in Houston County will only have $2,800 but that same fifth grader at a charter school will have $7,000 from state funds. Money that Hines said is taken away from the public school systems.
"If more money goes away, that's going to lead to more teacher furloughs, and kids are going to go to school on a reduced calendar," he said.
However, some in favor of charter schools say a state agency may actually bring more schools to counties and give parents more options.
Currently, the Georgia Department of Education reviews state charter school applications denied by county school boards. This would change if the amendment passes. In the last 11 years, the department has reviewed 52 applications and approved 19. There are currently 110 local and state charter schools in the state.