Democratic voters say no to charter school amendment

Wednesday, Aug 1, 2012 1:07 PM
Last updated 11:09 PM
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Democratic voters went against a proposal to let the state establish charter schools over objections of local school boards in Tuesday’s primary, but local educators said there is still much work to do before the final votes are cast in November.

Richmond County Democrats voted 59 percent against the proposal. Georgia as a whole voted 56 percent against, according to results.

Tuesday’s vote was an informational straw poll, and the constitutional amendment will go again before voters in the fall’s general election.

Richmond County educators are strongly against the proposal, saying the state charter schools take money out of the local school system and put underprivileged kids at a disadvantage. The Richmond County Board of Education passed a resolution earlier this year to state its opposition to the amendment, and board member Barbara Pulliam said Tuesday’s vote showed that people were listening.

“I feel that we got the message out to as many people as we could,” said Pulliam, who held public forums this year with state legislators to inform people about what the amendment meant. “I just feel we have to get the message out more.”

Those opposed to the amendment say state charter schools take control away from local school boards but still use public tax money.

Herb Garrett, the executive director of the Georgia School Superintendents Association, said charter schools have a place in education, but only when the local school boards have a say in how the money is used.

When state charters open up, the schools can hand-pick students out of the public school system, which decreases the amount of state money that districts get based on enrollment.

Garrett said the idea that money should follow a child is a “great bumper sticker, but it’s a complex issue and when you look deeply into it, it’s not true.”

When districts make budgets, the staffers do not just estimate an amount of money they will spend on each child, Garrett said. They also estimate for teacher supplements, supplies, health care costs, buses and other expenses, Garrett said.

When children leave a public system for a charter school, Garrett said, money is sucked out of the district for those costs, too.

“(Tuesday’s) vote is encouraging, but we also have work to do,” Garrett said. “It’s a major education campaign to have folks understand what the issue is. The issue is not about charter schools. We think charter schools have a place in the education landscape – as long as they’re approved by local public school boards.”

State charter school supporters say the schools provide more options for families among a struggling education system and do not obstruct local boards.

Mark Peevy, the executive director of Families for Better Public Schools, said that because Tuesday’s vote was “almost 50-50” among Democrats, he is confident the amendment can get bipartisan support when both parties cast ballots in the fall.

Peevy said state-appointed charter schools do not use money allocated by the state, not local taxmoney. State charters are there to give families options and to design schools that can fit individual needs, he said.

Monique Braswell, the president of the Richmond County Council of PTAs, said there is only so much state money to go around, though, and local districts can’t afford to have to share money with state charters.

She said she was “overwhelmingly elated” with Tuesday’s vote against the amendment. Like the school board, Braswell said the council fears that state-run charters take a voice away from parents.

State charter schools could create inequality because they select students with public money, she said. Pulliam agreed, saying those who are left behind would most likely be the poor, blacks and special-needs students.

“The parents do not have a voice in the state-run charter schools,” Braswell said. “I called the state for a question and a concern and still have not gotten a return call in four months. So just imagine if I was calling on a charter school issue.”

RESULTS

Democratic Party Question 1: Should the Georgia Constitution be amended to allow the state to override locally elected school boards’ decisions when it comes to the creation of charter schools in your county or city?

RICHMOND COUNTY

Yes 11,181 votes 40.63%

No 6,335 votes 59.37%

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Yes 1,376 votes 43.46%

No 1,790 votes 56.54%

GEORGIA

Yes 249,616 votes 43.68%

No 321,829 votes 56.32%

Comments (13) Add comment
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Little Lamb
44796
Points
Little Lamb 08/01/12 - 01:52 pm
2
0
Brainwash

From the article:

Richmond County educators are strongly against the proposal, saying the state charter schools take money out of the local school system and put underprivileged kids at a disadvantage.

Boy, talk about misleading! In the first place, yes, charter schools take money out of the existing system, but they also take students out of the existing system, too. It is a wash. The dollars per student ratio remains the same.

In the second place, underprivileged students are not put at a disadvantage. Instead, the underprivileged students receive an advantage by being in charter schools in which they can achieve higher accomplishments compared with the warehousing they are currently getting at the existing schools.

Angie H
4300
Points
Angie H 08/01/12 - 02:26 pm
4
0
It takes money away from

It takes money away from Teacher Unions. THAT is the objection. The Teacher Unions have NO intrest in the students what-so-ever.

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 08/01/12 - 02:51 pm
0
2
What happens to the kids who
Unpublished

What happens to the kids who cannot attend a charter school?

Angie H
4300
Points
Angie H 08/01/12 - 03:27 pm
2
0
They can attend the regular

They can attend the regular public school.

Are you saying that if the public school is not that great, we should just keep ALL schools at that standard so it will be fair?

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 08/01/12 - 03:47 pm
1
0
Herb Garrett and Sis Henry are the poster boy and girl...

for the lamentable status-quo in GAPubEd.

Their organizations, the GA School Superintendents Association(GSSA) and the Georgia School Board Association(GSBA), respectively, exert considerably more influence over public schooling than these two groups want GA taxpayers to know.* The GSSA and the GSBA, not GA parents and their kids, fear taking the big hit- a financial one- with the passage of the proposed charter school amendment.

*In the interest of full disclosure, the Georgia Council of School
Board Attorneys constitutes the third leg of the stool upon which
our current underperforming public school system sits.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

allhans
23471
Points
allhans 08/01/12 - 05:00 pm
2
0
I still don't get it. WHY,

I still don't get it. WHY, why, why, would any parent object to charter schools.

Charter Parent
5
Points
Charter Parent 08/01/12 - 05:27 pm
3
1
This story gets it all wrong!

"Richmond County educators are strongly against the proposal, saying the state charter schools take money out of the local school system and put underprivileged kids at a disadvantage."
CHARTER SCHOOLS ACCEPT ALL STUDENTS, INCLUDING THE DISADVANTAGED! MY DAUGHTER'S CHARTER SCHOOL HAS STUDENTS OF ALL SOCIO-ECONOMIC BACKGROUNDS, RACES, ABILITIES, DISABILITIES, ETC. FAMILIES CHOSE THE CHARTER SCHOOL, CHARTER SCHOOLS DON'T CHOOSE THEIR STUDENTS.
"Those opposed to the amendment say state charter schools take control away from local school boards but still use public tax money."
STATE CHARTER SCHOOLS, LIKE MY DAUGHTERS', TAKE CONTROL AWAY FROM LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS AND GIVE IT TO PARENTS. PARENTS ARE THE ULTIMATE LOCAL CONTROL.
"When state charters open up, the schools can hand-pick students out of the public school system, which decreases the amount of state money districts get based on enrollment."
BOLD-FACED LIE. CHARTER SCHOOLS DON'T HAND-PICK STUDENTS. FAMILIES CHOOSE THE CHARTER SCHOOL.
"Braswell said she fears the state-run charters take a voice away from parents."
ACTUALLY, STATE-RUN CHARTERS GIVE PARENTS A CHOICE AND A VOICE.
"Pulliam agreed, saying those who are left behind would most likely be the poor, African American and special-needs students."
COME TO CHEROKEE CHARTER ACADEMY IN CANTON, GEORGIA (A STATE CHARTER SCHOOL), AND SEE ALL THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN AND SPECIAL-NEEDS STUDENTS IN THE SCHOOL.
“'The parents do not have a voice in the state-run charter schools,' Braswell said."
IF YOU ASK EDUCATION BUREAUCRATS, THEY'LL SAY PARENTS DON'T HAVE A VOICE. IF YOU ACTUALLY ASK THE PARENTS OF STATE CHARTER SCHOOL STUDENTS (LIKE ME), THEY'LL TELL YOU THAT WE DO IN FACT HAVE A VOICE.
BY THE WAY, I'M A DEMOCRAT AND I SUPPORT SCHOOL CHOICE AND CHARTER SCHOOLS.

CobaltGeorge
153117
Points
CobaltGeorge 08/01/12 - 07:11 pm
2
1
Charter Parent

Your post is well written with truth and facts but written in a very PC manner.

Did it ever occur to some that the reason so many are against Charter Schools is that they like the public education system because it is a baby sitting, you take care of my children which I have failed to do.

Charter Schools and Private Schools demand "Involvement and Support" from all parents of each child. That does not exist in public schools.

Those that support Charter Schools wants the best they can provide their children and they will support it with there voice.

Look at the number of children that have wasted 12 years of their life's, if they don't drop out, with a substandard education because of the PC Government run schools.

Research the education system of Japan and see what they produce in 12 of educating their children.

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 08/01/12 - 07:35 pm
0
0
Then what?
Unpublished

What if you made all local public schools, charter schools? I hear that's what Dr. Robinson is trying to do.

A certain demographic is pushing for charter schools, while another does not.

allhans
23471
Points
allhans 08/01/12 - 09:38 pm
2
0
What we have not is NOT

What we have now is NOT working, so WHY NOT give it a try.
Voting against a better education for your children completely throws me for a loop.

Riverman1
81245
Points
Riverman1 08/02/12 - 04:31 am
2
1
Socialists.

Socialists.

seenitB4
83988
Points
seenitB4 08/02/12 - 06:54 am
2
0
Brainwashed

Brainwashed

jack234
719
Points
jack234 08/02/12 - 07:48 am
2
0
Colbart george: "they will

Colbart george: "they will support it with there voice". (their). Charter School graduate?

Little Lamb
44796
Points
Little Lamb 08/02/12 - 08:11 am
2
1
Yes, seenit.

They are brainwashed. The Richmond County voters who voted against this charter schools straw poll question are the same ones who voted to raise their sales tax to benefit the paving contractors. Those two votes go against their own best interests (economically and educationally), but they are too dim to recognize it.

Little Lamb
44796
Points
Little Lamb 08/02/12 - 08:35 am
2
0
Bigotry and Racism in Public Education

From the article:

Monique Braswell, the president of the Richmond County Council of PTAs, said . . . state charter schools could create inequality because they select students with public money. School Board trustee Barbara Pulliam agreed, saying those who are left behind would most likely be the poor, blacks and special-needs students.

Braswell is engendering bigotry with her fear-mongering about "selection." Public charter schools are subject to the same federal laws against discrimination as are all other public schools. As eloquently expressed above by Charter Parent, it is the parents who select the schools, not the schools who select the students.

In like manner, Pulliam plays the victim card with her poor, black, special needs screed. This "left behind" notion says that poor parents, black parents, and parents of special needs children are inferior; they are incapable of making rational choices in the rearing of their children. That is classism and racism. I reject it.

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