0

Poll shows support for state charter vote

SUWANEE -- A group touting the constitutional amendment that will determine how much authority the state gets in approving and funding charter schools released a poll this week that shows public support for the measure.

In a poll of 400 likely general election voters last week, the campaign's polling team found that 58 percent of Georgians support the amendment -- results that match a poll taken by the group four months prior.

"Public charter schools are all about opportunity, and we should make opportunity available to as many students as possible regardless of their ZIP code or neighborhood," said Campaign Director Mark Peevy.

A member of the Gwinnett County Public School board, however, said approval for state charter schools is not the issue at hand.

"I don't understand people trying to tout this as some kind of charter bill," said District II Board Member Dan Seckinger. "It's more about whether you want a downtown group of appointed people controlling your tax dollars or if you want it left to local officials. It's local control versus zero-accountability appointed people downtown."

The FBPS poll showed that among Republican voters, the margin was 65-19 in support. Independents are one point stronger (66-19) and Democrats favored the amendment by a 46-33 margin.

For more information about the organization, visit www.bettergaschools.org.

Comments

Jan 1 year, 12 months ago

The Charter school amendment has been misrepresented and, I believe, that if people understood the truth they would not favor such an amendment. For those that favor the amendment, consider the difficulty in getting it removed when it is proven to be a disastrous blow on local school systems and cause tax increases. Facts that are ignored:

  1. This is not about a choice between having or not having charter schools, it is solely about whether local voters wishes can be ignored in choosing to locate a school in the district and require the local public school board to fund it. Charter schools will continue to thrive without this amendment.

  2. Most of the top performing Charter schools were formed by public education systems.

  3. On average, charter schools are performing below their public school counter parts, even with the advantage of being able to more easily expel below standard students.

There are more reasons to reject this amendment but these are the ones which the charter school associations have been publicizing misinformation. Remember, private charter schools are out to make a profit. When the profit motive is of primary concern, then students will suffer. All this amendment accomplishes for charter schools is to increase their profit. That is why their are spending millions to get voters on their side.

0

LoganvilleResident 1 year, 12 months ago

You won't debate Jan because the facts are spot on.

Studies have shown that the VAST majority of charter schools perform no better than their local public school and in many cases perform worse. Less than one in five charter schools actually perform better than the local public school.

The highest ranked school in the state of Georgia is one that was not only locally approved but locally operated by Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education. It is a magnet school.

The charter school with the best SAT performance is locally approved and operated by the Gwinnett County Board of Education.

If you want to refute that, please cite real evidence as I did the last time you bashed Jan on this subject. The constant verbal disparaging of public schools by you and BuzzG actually proves nothing.

My personal belief is that education is the one factor that can help people improve and get out of a bad situation such as poverty. Therefore, I am open to ANY ideas that will provide a better education to people. However, this amendment is not that idea.

Also, for the record... I am not a teacher, I am not married to a teacher, nor do I have any desire to be a teacher.

1

NewsReader 1 year, 12 months ago

You are not worth the dignity of a response!

0

ssilover1 1 year, 12 months ago

NewsReader, you are worth a response. LoganvilleResident is RIGHT!

1

gahof 1 year, 12 months ago

It is all about choice. We don't have it now. Every charter school that has attempted to be formed in Gwinnett County has been rejected by the GCPS Board. Most of us believe in local control but for GCPS to reject every application for a charter school except the ones that GCPS have started is the height of arrogance and is not a choice. Parents are choosing to remove their children from public schools in ever increasing numbers, 20% per year across the US according to the most recent survey, because they aren't learning what we as parents know they should be. The whole issue comes down to choice and allowing tax payers to decided where those education dollars are going to be spent. School Boards represent the voters who put them there but increasingly they are becoming tone deaf to their bosses so those bosses are going around them to get the job done and the state charter initiative is the latest effort in that regard. We pay the taxes we should have the ability to choose where are kids will learn and not to pay for education services we do not use. That is taxation without representation and that is not fair.

1

LoganvilleResident 1 year, 12 months ago

gahof...

What people seem to forget is that those are our tax dollars which means they are not just your tax dollars or my tax dollars.

When you say you want the choice to put your child in a school of your choice that LITERALLY equates to not only do you want to control your tax dollars but other people's tax dollars. It also means that not only do you WANT control but in the same action you TAKE other people's control of their tax dollars.

If you want to put your child in a school outside of their designated public school, that is absolutely your choice. However, it is not your choice to take other people's tax dollars to do it. YOU should be the one to pay for that choice and not me.

1

gahof 1 year, 12 months ago

NO that is liberal view. 1 size doesn't fit all!!! As tax payers we have the right to choice and if the majority feels that more options are needed then that's what needs to happen. Change is a good thing it keeps everyone on their toes. With that type of thinking there are an awful lot of tax payers who don't even have kids who pay property taxes. As the people who pay property taxes we are telling our elected officials we need choice when it comes to education. If public schools can't step up then it is time to have competition to either get public schools to step up or get out of the way and let those who will actual educate our kids do so. We want options because the results we are getting from public schools isn't working. I want the type of education for my kids that I got. I was educated in public schools but these public schools are not educating they are indoctrinationing. I expect the government to use all the money collected from taxpayers to be spend in the best and most efficient way possible and public education is not doing that.

0

LoganvilleResident 1 year, 12 months ago

Actually, my view is not liberal at all. If you want to start funding private corporations through a non-elected board, I would rather end the school tax completely. It is about as conservative a view as they come.

I am 100% opposed to my tax money funding vouchers, for-profit charters, or any other option that doesn't allow me say in the distribution of my tax dollars.

0

Jan 1 year, 12 months ago

You need to check your information. After Gwinnett and others won the legal battle that prevented them from demanding certain standards to assist a charter school, they did approve funding for Ivy Prep. All they asked was for certain standards to be met. Ivy Prep failed to meet these standards and so Gwinnett did not renew their charter. This did not remove that choice, however, because the state picked up the funding without using local school taxes. That gives them an additional year to come up to standards set by the state. It should also be noted that, though located in Gwinnett, they have students that live outside the county. Some public school systems are below standard because locals and their representatives vote to under fund the educational system. Gwinnett system is above average for public school systems in Georgia. It is not unreasonable for local boards to insist that charter schools meet local standards to be allowed as a choice if they are forced to fund it.

0

SabrinaWorks247 1 year, 12 months ago

Hi Mr. Seckinger: You said approval for the state charter schools is not the issue at hand. "I don't understand people trying to tout this as some kind of charter bill," said District II Board Member Dan Seckinger. "It's more about whether you want a downtown group of appointed people controlling your tax dollars or if you want it left to local officials. It's local control versus zero-accountability appointed people downtown."

Perhaps you are right. Have you considered that one of the issues is that Gwinnett residents think that local control has resulted in zero-accountability? Gwinnett residents have questions about GCPS using education funds to pay the salaries of Gwinnett Chamber employees. Perhaps if you answer those questions, it will begin to restore trust in local control.

0

LoganvilleResident 1 year, 12 months ago

Sabrina:

At least at the local level, you can elect a different representative of your choice. At the state level, they will be politically-appointed cronies that you will have no control over. Look at how our wonderful Governor has appointed business partners to powerful posts within state government boards such as the Ports Authority.

It will be the same with the charter commission. The appointees won't be based on people who actually have the best interests of your children in mind... and you will be TOTALLY powerless to do anything about it.

Are you seriously OK with that?

On a side note that is related... Did you know that the home telephone numbers of every board member are available on the school system's website? You can call any of them and speak with them about whatever issues you have with their governance.

Do you think that will be the case will a state bureaucrat?

1

SabrinaWorks247 1 year, 12 months ago

Hi LoganvilleResident: You have valid concerns and I appreciate your comments. I have not researched the charter school issue. I am just surprised that school board member Seckinger does not seem to understand that voters are very skeptical of their decisions due to issues such as the payments to the Gwinnett Chamber. I think they should quickly answer those questions so the focus of attention can be redirected back to educational issues.

1

motherinduluth 1 year, 12 months ago

We do not elect our superintendent. He is appointed. None of our school board members cast dissenting votes or even give voice to a viewpoint that is different from Superintendent Wilbanks.

0

Jan 1 year, 12 months ago

He is hired by the school board and they can fire him. They fired one in the past.

0

motherinduluth 1 year, 12 months ago

Please show me the last time a school board member cast a dissenting vote. Our school board votes on an average of about 200 motions a year and I have yet to see or here an abstention, a dissenting vote, a request for reconsideration. I've heard that it has happened at some point in the past but I've never seen or heard it. When the annual salary of a school board member is less than the superintendents car allowance, it must be an easier job if you just yes to every motion.

0

gahof 1 year, 12 months ago

The board is about as tone def as a state commission would be. There was no reason for the board not to approve most of the charter schools that have come up before the GCPB except that it would direct competition to GCPS and would take tax dollars away from GCPS. GCPS budget is 1.7 Billion dollars for a school system of 165K students. The State of Idaho Department of Education spends 350 million for fiscal year 2011 on over 350k students and Idaho does as well if not slightly better than GCPS on ACT and SAT so that tells me there are a lot of places where education dollars can be spent better and more of that money needs to be finding its way into the classroom instead of a ever growing and bloated bureaucracy.

0

motherinduluth 1 year, 12 months ago

"It's more about whether you want a downtown group of appointed people controlling your tax dollars or if you want it left to local officials. It's local control versus zero-accountability appointed people downtown."

Dan, I may feel differently after November 2014, but up to this point, I've received much better response from GDOE on issues of concern than I have from my "local officials". I have received prompt and courteous response 100% of the time when contacting the GDOE. When over 1,400 constituents provided returned input forms, called, and personally addressed the school board on an issue, none received even an automated, "Thank-you for your input." Then (IMO) our school board violated sunshine law by making changes regarding the issue in a closed session between the 4:30PM work session and the beginning of that evening's session. An immediate vote was called, without public input, and was voted in unanimously by the local board. (I've heard that there has been a dissenting vote in the past, but I went back over 3 years in notes and couldn't find one) and passed against overwhelming constituent opposition where both sides were simply begging for the board to not vote at that time. It's not that I have complete trust in the "appointed people downtown", but I feel confident that my appointed uptown school superintendent and cronies will be holding them accountable if there is a single penny to be added to their pockets.

0

SabrinaWorks247 1 year, 12 months ago

LoganvilleResident: Again, I am not contradicting anything you have said and I appreciate your cogent remarks. I have had a similar experience to that of motherinduluth. We started trying to learn more about the GCPS payments to the Chamber back in February. We sent an email to all board members and did not receive a response. We contacted the spokesperson and GCPS administrators to ask for assistance. We finally met with administrators, who were very polite and professional, but who told us that the only documentation they had was the annual invoice sent to GCPS for Chamber employees' salaries. They gave us a statement, which I will post in its entirety, to explain the payments. Please tell me if it answers all of your questions, and if not, please join me in asking that the school board clear this up quickly so that we can all focus our attention on more important educational issues.

0

SabrinaWorks247 1 year, 12 months ago

Explanation provided by GCPS: Background on Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Involvement in Partnership Gwinnett – February 2012 In 2006, Gwinnett County did not have a coherent, proactive focus on economic development. As a result, the county frequently lost new business to neighboring cities and states with a more aggressive and focused economic development posture. Additionally, insufficient attention was being paid to encouraging expansion of local businesses already operating in the county. The consequence for Gwinnett was that the county’s tax base was not as robust as it needed to be in order to meet the demands of Gwinnett’s growing and changing population. The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce responded to this negative reality by establishing an innovative economic development vehicle within the Chamber. Partnership Gwinnett was comprised of the Chamber, Gwinnett County Government, the Gwinnett healthcare community, and numerous local businesses and community-based organizations. Realizing the highly favorable reputation of Gwinnett County Public Schools and its positive impact in attracting and retaining businesses for the county, the Chamber invited the school district to be actively involved in Partnership Gwinnett.
...to be continued...

0

SabrinaWorks247 1 year, 12 months ago

Due to the funding restrictions and limitations on a local school district, GCPS could not and did not make a monetary contribution to Partnership Gwinnett. The funds we allocated to support Partnership Gwinnett had to be dedicated to expenditures for which the district received a service in return. Therefore, we elected to fund two positions for the Partnership Gwinnett initiative devoted fulltime to economic development strategies. Increasing the county’s business/industry tax base benefits all in the county. It promotes innovation, creates jobs, increases the county’s wealth, and generates revenue that is sorely needed to fund the services provided by entities like Gwinnett County Government and Gwinnett County Public Schools. In response to the Chamber’s invitation, CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks approached the Gwinnett County Board of Education about the district appropriately joining the Partnership Gwinnett initiative. The Board agreed with the benefits outlined and the funding approach identified. The Board insisted that the funding be done on an annual basis and that the benefits of the district’s involvement be evaluated each year. With the economic downturn that struck in 2007-08 and continues today, the significant value of Partnership Gwinnett to our county’s economic vitality has become even more apparent. In its first five years, Partnership Gwinnett generated over $800 million in economic development, boosting the school district’s revenue from the local tax base by more than $6 million. The proactive and productive economic development posture for Gwinnett County continues to reap benefits for the school district, which has been able to balance its budget without raising the operational millage rate during these difficult economic times.

0

SabrinaWorks247 1 year, 12 months ago

There was no vote by the school board on these paymenst, no contract, no minutes of any board where it was discussed and no explanation of how they determined that they got $6 million in return for paying the salaries of Chamber employees. We think Gwinnett residents deserve an explanation.

0

motherinduluth 1 year, 12 months ago

SabrinaWorks, Superintendent Wilbanks, Mike Levengood, Sean Murphy are all on the Gwinnett Chamber Executive Committee and Board, right? Hmmm.....

0

SabrinaWorks247 1 year, 12 months ago

motherinduluth: I think you intended my name at the beginning of your post to direct your comment as a reply to my post, but some people may read it and think that you are saying I am on the Gwinnett Chamber Executive Committee and Board. I am not. I am the Chairman of Gwinnett Citizens for Responsible Government.

1

motherinduluth 1 year, 12 months ago

Correct. I apologize for confusing punctuation. I look forward to hearing more from Gwinnett Citizens for Responsible Government!

0

ssilover1 1 year, 12 months ago

I wasn't polled and I will vote NO, NO, NO!!!

0

Sign in to comment