In November, voters will decide whether the Richmond County Board of Education should have the authority to approve or deny attempts by organizations to open charter schools in the district.
It comes to the voters after the Georgia General Assembly passed a constitutional amendment in March allowing the state to create charter schools that function with local funding, even if local boards object.
Opponents of the bill are now working to make sure the public understands the ballot issue. Local educators and legislators are holding a rally Saturday to give information about the legislation, H.R. 1162.
Those holding and speaking at the rally are opposed to the bill, as is the RCBOE, which passed a resolution earlier this year condemning it.
RCBOE member Barbara Pulliam, a sponsor of Saturday’s rally along with Richmond County Council of PTAs President Monique Braswell and Sandridge Community Association President Sammie Sias, said she fears state charter schools will funnel students out of the school system, which will have a corresponding financial impact on the district.
“We are already hurting financially,” Pulliam said. “It can’t do anything but devastate the school system with more money being pulled out of it and given to a state charter.”
Georgia Federation of Teachers President Verdaillia Turner, who will speak at the rally with state Rep. Gloria Frazier, said finances and accountability are the biggest problems with letting charter schools start up.
She said charter schools take authority away from local districts while also taking money and children.
“There’s only one money pot, and the money coming from the state is already being shortchanged to local districts,” Turner said. “Now it’s going to be shortchanged even more.”
Proponents of the legislation say it would secure the state’s partnership in public education and facilitate the process for opening charter schools.