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