District voices opposition to constitutional amendment

SUWANEE -- Local education leaders adopted a resolution Thursday evening stating the district's stance on a constitutional amendment that would guarantee the state's authority to charter independent public schools.

Berney Kirkland, chief of staff for Gwinnett County Public Schools, said the district currently is working "to educate on the amendment ... we believe we have a responsibility as well as a right to educate voters on this, without telling them how they should vote."

Board of Education Chairman Robert McClure said if voters approve the proposed amendment, nearby schools "will be governed by an appointed commission of people who don't even live in my community. That's the basic gist of what they're asking (with this amendment), although it's deceptively worded."

Added McClure: "It's a radical and destructive idea."

The resolution, which board members unanimously adopted Thursday, states that those that advocate "for a system of school vouchers, state-approved charter schools and other educational options that divert public school funds away from local community schools support the operation of private or for-profit charter schools."

The resolution, titled "Resolution in Support of Quality Education," goes on to say that the local board of education "opposes the state's establishment of a separate system of state-authorized public charter schools that are funded through a funding formula that unilaterally takes critically needed funds from local public school districts and redirects them to the state-controlled charter schools."

Gwinnett County Public School board leaders aren't alone in their opposition.

On Tuesday, State School Superintendent John Barge announced publicly his opposition to the constitutional amendment.

During Thursday's meeting, School Board Member Robert McClure publicly thanked Barge for doing so.

The General Assembly endorsed the amendment after the Georgia Supreme Court struck down an earlier law that allowed the state to create the publicly financed, but privately operated schools.

The court ruled that the existing Georgia Constitution gives local boards control over K-12 education, including issuing independent charters. Advocates for charter schools argued that local officials were dragging their feet in approving charter applications. The constitutional change and a separate statute would restore a state commission that would issue charters to private operators.--The Associated Press contributed to this article


NewsReader 3 years, 1 month ago

Of course the BOE is opposed. The people who are paying for the cookies are now allowed to stick their hands in the cookie jar. This isn't at all about education. This is about control over the money for education. I want school vouchers. Barring that, I'll settle for allowing Charters the opportunity to recruit quality students to their program, and receive appropriate funding for doing so. I do, and have always, advocated the money following the student no matter where they are educated. It is that simple!


LoganvilleResident 3 years, 1 month ago

Straight from NewsReader's own post:
" I'll settle for allowing Charters the opportunity to recruit quality students to their program, and receive appropriate funding for doing so."

Leaving the "non-quality" students stuck in the public schools which has been my point all along...

Kill the public schools and eventually with the "mandatory attendance" laws of this State, you will see the same problems in charter schools. What will be the solution then?


NewsReader 3 years, 1 month ago

LoganvilleResident, do you remember Rachel Sackett? She was the young lady that wanted to play Lacrosse in her local high school district at Mill Creek because they didn't have a Lacrosse team at her Charter school, GSMST. They wouldn't let her, citing she was not attending that school district. So you are going to penalize this child by not letting her play in her local district because she happens to be bright enough to attend what should really be a magnet school, and not a charter school. It is precisely this kind of idiocy that I am sick and tired of. The whole idea that every child fits some mold is really socialistic and stupid. The idea that we should hold back the best and the brightest so that Johnny can feel good about himself is why we are sliding from first to worst in the industrialized world. I have no problem presenting educational opportunities to everyone. I do have a problem doing so for the benefit of some and the expense of others. Rachel earned the right to play Lacrosse as well as the right to attend GSMST. There has to be some personal responsibility with these children, whether their parents instill it in them or not. I have three children in school. I pay huge property taxes in the thousands and thousands of dollars. And I paid property taxes for many many years before I ever had a child in school. I could really care less what anyone’s opinion is. Each of my children is entitled to the same amount of funds that would otherwise be allocated for their education to be spent wherever they go to school. Spare me the argument that I am siphoning money away from the public school system. It isn’t the school system’s money. It is our money, and more specifically, my childrens’ money. If the gov’ment school system would stop wasting so much of our tax money on endless foolishness, I would probably feel a little differently.

I do believe that society benefits as a whole when we have a more educated society. Be we don't. We have an indoctrinated society as several of you in here have so demonstrated.


LarryMajor 3 years, 1 month ago

At the risk of causing earthquakes, you are absolutely correct – this is indeed about who controls education funding and it’s surprising how many folks don’t understand that. State funding is based on enrollment and, now that the original Charter Schools Commission is gone, state funding follows the student to any public school in Georgia. We really don’t want to mess with that arrangement.


kevin 3 years, 1 month ago

Time for the state to take over from labor unions. Voting yes all the way. It is so obvious the unions are against this because they want to control everything around them. Why isn't the union complaining about the $500,000 the GPS donate to the Chamber of Commerce each year? This could go to their precious "causes."


NewsReader 3 years, 1 month ago

What unions would that be kevin?


Say_that_again 3 years, 1 month ago

yea for charters. No reason to consider that they perform below standards of local schools systems. Forget about the fact that money taken away from local school systems will only bring down standards for local systems. Ignore the lack of any standards for charter schools and don't consider that charter schools are in it for the money. It's all about choice! Choice is more important than a decent education, even if it is only a choice to get into the lottery for a place in the charter school. I wonder how this would change if only those with children in school or soon to be in school were allowed to vote on this issue. Voting no does not stop charters from forming and getting state funding, it only prevents the local schools from being forced to fund them with no control of standards which Ivy Prep did not meet, thus local funding was lost. It will not lower taxes and could possibly increase taxes as the county boards are required to fund extra schools without significant lowering of funding for local schools.


Sign in to comment