Columbia County school leaders oppose charter school amendment

Columbia County school officials spoke in opposition Monday to a proposed constitutional amendment that would give the state power in establishing charter schools.

At a forum in Evans, schools Superintendent Charles Nagle said the amendment would take away power from local school boards and give more control to the state.

The proposed resolution also would drain funds going to traditional public schools, he said.

“What have we done in public education that would cause our governor and our legislators to want to change public education by diverting money from public education into another, dual system?” Nagle asked.

The amendment would allow the Georgia Legislature to set up a committee that could create charter schools without authorization of local school boards. Currently if a local school board rejects the creation of a charter school, the decision can be appealed at the state level.

“Seven appointees by three politicians that you don’t even know are going to make the decision across the state for charter schools,” Nagle said. “It’s shameful.”

The resolution will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot for Georgia voters. If approved, it would override a Georgia Supreme Court ruling last year that charter schools be accepted and governed by a local school board.

While no charter schools exist in Columbia County, there are more than 200 in Georgia.

Nagle was joined by school board Chairwoman Regina Buccafusco in speaking out against the resolution.

“I will answer e-mails (and phone calls) morning, noon, night, and all of our school board members will do that,” she said. “Do you think you’ll ever get a phone call back from them (state committee members)?”

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Mon, 02/20/2017 - 19:56

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