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School board cancels vote on charter school resolution

Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 8:08 PM
Last updated 9:10 PM
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 In light of Attorney General Sam Olens’ recent ruling that school boards can’t attempt to sway voters’ opinions on a Nov. 6 constitutional amendment ballot question, the Richmond County Board of Education canceled plans to discuss the issue Tuesday.

The board intended to vote on a resolution opposing the amendment, which would allow a state committee to establish charter schools without regard to the wishes of local school boards.

School board attorney Pete Fletcher advised the board not to make the resolution and cited Olens’ opinion, which states that school boards can’t use taxpayer resources or funds to rally for or against the charter school bill.

“It’s similar to the rules when we have a (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax),” Fletcher said. “The school board studies and recommends a SPLOST to the voters but forms a committee of other persons to help serve that because it becomes a, quote, partisan question.”

Fletcher said board members are allowed to express opinions as individual citizens but not with board resources. Board members are also allowed to present facts to the public on the issue, but must do so without intentionally swaying a vote.

Prior to Olens’ ruling,the school board passed a resolution against state-run charter schools in February without specifically naming the amendment, House Resolution 1162.

“The lack of support for public education sought by those in support of school vouchers, state-approved charter schools, and programs that allow public school funds to be redirected to private schools, serves to deepen inequalities and the promise of opportunity for every able student to achieve the American dream and contribute to the greatness of this country,” the resolution states.

On Oct. 3, Olens sent a letter to state Superintendent John Barge stating that no state law allows a local school board to engage in electoral advocacy.

Board Vice President Venus Cain said it is unfair that school boards can’t publicly endorse an opinion while more than 90 percent of campaign money in favor of the amendment has come from out-of-state sources.

“It’s like they’re spending more energy trying to silence the people who truly care about the children in this state while we have all the influence coming from out of the state working to make it happen,” Cain said.

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Insider Information
Insider Information 10/09/12 - 09:30 pm
So, then was it illegal for

So, then was it illegal for the school board to use taxpayer resources (i.e. facilities, employees, utilities, etc.) to hold a campaign rally against the amendment last week?

By the way, the school board voting against charter schools is analogous to McDonald's voting against Burger King. Nobody likes competition, but what are they afraid of?

dstewartsr 10/09/12 - 10:00 pm
"...what are they afraid of?"

Competition, as you wrote. Charters have accountability and the crew of clockers and racists now running the show in the schools would lose power.

Dixieman 10/10/12 - 04:32 am

If they devoted their energy to educating the kids and not to trying to protect their turf and stifle improvement, they might not have to worry about this issue. Government schools are broken and desperately need fixing.

seenitB4 10/10/12 - 07:00 am
Gut the system

OOh how I wish we could start over with the USA school stinks right now.....if we need all charter schools be least the kids are learning there....
It is such a crock.....ratios-bussing problems-choice is what a parent needs....give them a choice.

Riverman1 10/10/12 - 07:37 am
This is exactly what those of

This is exactly what those of us in Richmond and Columbia Counties have been complaining about. The BOE getting involved in a political matter can't be justified. Finally, they are waking up to what people have been telling them.

Bulldog 10/10/12 - 08:56 am

The educrats have gone so far overboard that they are now having to fight alternate systems. If the schools they are running were working we wouldn't have a near universal cry for something else. If the educrats are against it, you know that we need it. We need to clean house at the BOE and put some new ideas in place!

Insider Information
Insider Information 10/10/12 - 09:33 am
Civil Rights

How often do Ms. Cain and the other board members blame parents for not taking responsibility?

Now when parents want to step up and take action to fight for their kids, the school board attempts to shut them down.

Ms. Cain apparently believes parents should shut up and stay quiet because in Cain World Richmond County schools are doing a perfect job.

Education is the civil rights issue of our day and people like Ms. Cain would rather see kids be slaves to a failing school system than free to succeed elsewhere.

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