Opportunity School District amendment fails in Georgia

Amendment 1, otherwise known as Opportunity School District, failed across Georgia on Tuesday after being rejected by around 60 percent of statewide voters.


More than 55 percent of Richmond County voters opposed the bill (40,661 to 32,756).

“Look, Nathan Deal’s a great man and I agree with a lot of things he’s accomplished,” said Richmond County school board member Jimmy Atkins, who represents District 8. “But right now he’s a lame-duck governor. By the time Opportunity School District truly gets going, he won’t be in office to take the fall.”

Nineteen schools in Richmond County had the potential to be affected by the Opportunity School District – a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would authorize the state to temporarily step in to assist chronically failing public schools and their students.

Three high schools – Butler, Glenn Hills and T.W. Josey – are on the list. The four middle schools on the list are Glenn Hills, Murphey, Sego and Spirit Creek.

The 12 elementary schools are Bayvale, Diamond Lakes, Glenn Hills, Hains, Hornsby, Jamestown, Jenkins-White Charter, Lamar-Milledge, Meadowbrook, Terrace Manor, Wheeless Road and Wilkinson Gardens.

“I’ve said all along that we need to preserve local control,” said Richmond County board member Marion Barnes. “This bill didn’t work in New Orleans and there was no reason to believe it would work here.”

Across the state, 127 schools were targeted for state takeover if the amendment had passed. The state-operated school district could take over up to 20 schools a year and 100 schools in all. Schools in the OSD would receive a per-student share of all local, state and federal funds coming into the school districts in which the schools are located.

According to Gov. Nathan Deal, persistently failing schools are defined as those scoring below 60 on the Georgia Department of Education’s accountability measure, the College and Career Performance Index, for three consecutive years.

The bill stated that schools would stay in the district for no less than five years but no more than 10 years, and would then return to local control.

“My biggest issue with Gov. Deal’s plan is this: If he knows all these wonderful ways to reform our schools – why isn’t he telling us?” asked board member Barbara Pulliam. “Why won’t he share his secret?”

Dee STAFFORD More than 1 year ago
Once again the children are screwed by the unions and those clinging to their power.  

If there ever was an example of putting the children low on the totem pole, this is it.
Steven Andr More than 1 year ago
No. First of all, GA doesn't have teaching Unions- at least not ones with that kind of stopping power.

Have you read the data? How these programs work? They are not intended to help. They are turning kids in to dollar signs with NO CHANGE in actual grades.

I'm an educator. You watch the television. This program was bunk from the start while failing to acknowledge the reason these kids are struggling in the first place: Govt stealing money allocated for them.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
Scott Swann More than 1 year ago
The harsh reality is that the problem does indeed come down to a lack of parental care and involvement in most cases. The reason that this amendment failed is that it did nothing to address parental care and involvement. Instead, it only worked to place even more blame on an already overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated teacher workforce. It also failed because Americans across the country are sick of government creating new bureaucracies and more government programs to solve a problem that needs to be solved on a local level.
Roy Whitley More than 1 year ago
I'm certain this bill was brought about with good intentions but more gubmint intrusion is Not the answer. Teachers are like college professors, just on a lower scale, mostly democrats.
Wen Robins 6 months ago
It's disheartening to see that it appears that we are not understanding the importance of investing in proper, fair and adequate education for our children. Investing in education extends far beyond their education today but impacts their lives and our communities for years to come. We must understand that a child's education today impacts future generations. What is instilled in a child today impacts that family's lineage. Communities are negatively impacted due to poor educational standards. What's not being understood? Or is it simply that no one really cares?


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