Augusta Democrats to pose ballot question about school takeover plan

To raise awareness about the governor’s Nov. 8 “opportunity school district” referendum, the Richmond County Democratic Party is placing a counterquestion on the ballot May 24.

To raise awareness about the governor’s Nov. 8 “opportunity school district” referendum,
the Richmond County De­mo­cratic Party is placing a counterquestion on the ballot
May
24.

 

County party Chairman Low­ell Greenbaum said he came up with the idea for a nonbinding ballot question after learning that the November referendum will include the phrase “to
help your child be a better student.”

If the referendum passes, it would amend the Georgia Con­stitution to allow the state to seize control of perennially failing schools, bypassing the elected state superintendent of schools. The state would have total control of the schools, their staffs and budgets.

Richmond County has 19 schools in the failing category after each repeatedly scored below a 60 on the state Depart­ment of Educa­tion’s College and Career Perfor­mance Index.

Gov. Nathan Deal’s plan isn’t popular among Democrats, and Greenbaum said a retired educator drafted the ballot
question to raise awareness about what’s coming in No­vember.

“We hope it’s a wake-up call for the Democratic Party,” Green­baum said. “We hope they’ll vote ‘no.’”

He said several other Geor­gia counties have picked up the nonbinding ballot question, which will read:

“Shall the constitution of Georgia be amended to allow an appointee of the governor to bypass the elected state school superintendent in order to take over local school operations, buildings and control of all federal, state and local funding if a school has low scores on standardized tests or for any other reason a future legislative act may allow?”

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