As of Thursday, February 9, 2012
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Gwinnett Daily Post
State Rep. Brooks Coleman, R-Duluth, right, chairman of the House Education Committee looks on during a hearing on a proposed constitutional amendment addressing a Georgia Supreme Court ruling that disbanded the state's charter school commission Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, in Atlanta. State lawmakers are one step closer to passing legislation approved by the House Education Committee on Thursday that would empower the state to create charter schools and move money from public school districts into charter schools. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
ATLANTA (AP) — Lawmakers voted Thursday to give themselves a do-over on trying to change the state constitution so the General Assembly can create more charter schools, one day after the measure was rejected.
House lawmakers voted 114-49 to allow Republican Rep. Jan Jones to call another vote on the constitutional amendment that she sponsored. The timing of that second vote has not been scheduled.
In a blow to Republican leaders, the first vote Wednesday on the amendment fell short of the two-thirds majority required to alter the state's constitution. Should that amendment pass the House, the change must also be approved by a two-thirds majority in the state Senate and a majority of Georgia voters.
Jones' amendment was supposed to end the legal uncertainty created by a recent state Supreme Court ruling. Georgia's top court decided in May that a commission that approved more than a dozen charter schools was unconstitutional because only local governments have the power to create schools. The ruling did not affect charter schools that were previously allowed by local officials.
School superintendents and local school boards have fought against the change, saying that supporters of the new charter schools never explained how the state would fund them. Opponents said adding more charter schools could mean less funding for existing public school systems.
Jones said she intends to try again and may introduce companion legislation that explains how the state would fund new charter schools before calling another vote on the constitutional amendment.