As of Wednesday, March 28, 2012
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
SNELLVILLE -- The school district's highest ranked appointed official spoke out Tuesday evening to a local crowd, encouraging them to "consider the future of public education" and vote against November referendum.
Wilbanks said the measure -- which would amend the Georgia constitution to give the state power to approve charter schools -- "will transfer control from your local school board to a group of people in Atlanta."
Added Wilbanks: "Never have I felt more concerned for the survival of public education than now ... if we fail to act quickly, we could lose something very precious in our state and nation."
The superintendent urged hundreds in attendance during an area board meeting at South Gwinnett High School to go to the polls and vote "no" on the measure.
Campaigns for the amendment, he said, "will be funded by the corporations who will make a hefty profit off of it."
After a victory by Republican lawmakers March 19, the Georgia Senate passed a constitutional amendment that would give the state power to establish charter schools over the objection of local school districts. It passed the Senate 40-16 and passed the House in Feburary by 123-48.
In previous interviews, Ivy Preparatory Academy Founder and Executive Director Nina Gilbert has maintained that the senate's approval was "a step in the right direction toward creating collaborative relationships between charter schools and traditional public schools."
In January, the Gwinnett County Board of Education voted to deny a charter extension of Ivy Prep Academy's Gwinnett campus as well as a proposed new location in the county.