Georgia Constitutional Amendments: Yes

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There are only two constitutional amendments on the Georgia ballot Tuesday, but both of them deserve two thumbs up.

The first would merely give parents, teachers and their supporters the freedom to ask the state to approve a new charter school when a local school board refuses to do so.

The second amendment on the ballot would simply allow the state to enter into leases for more than one year – in order to save money on rent and give agencies more leverage in negotiating for rental space.

The latter is a no-brainer. It’s silly for the state to hamstring itself to one-year leases – but apparently

the state constitution needs to be amended to make multiyear leases possible.

People are always saying government needs to operate more like a business.

Well, what business would restrict itself to one-year leases, when it knows its average rental period is for about 10 years? And what landlord is going to give a break to, or go out of his way for, a commercial tenant who won’t commit to more than one year?

The State Properties Commission estimates this change will save taxpayers $66 million over 10 years.

Vote yes on Amendment 2. It just makes sense.

Amendment 1 is much more controversial, but no less deserving of your support.

Currently, if a local school board denies a request from a group to start a public charter school, that’s the end of it and kids are stuck in schools that may not be what they deserve. Local boards love to deny the requests, because charter schools hand more power over from the bureaucracy to the schools themselves, which can
operate under a looser set of rules and more innovative curricula. In one two-year period, local school boards around the state had rejected 52 of 56 charter school applications.

Yet, in no other public system than charter schools do parents and teachers have more say in a child’s education.

Again, the public school bureaucracy doesn’t like it because it gives consumers too much power. We happen to think that’s precisely why you should vote for it.

The well-to-do already have school choice. It’s time to provide it to everybody.

Vote yes on Amendment 1 – for more educational options for Georgia kids.

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Retired Army
Retired Army 11/04/12 - 07:49 am
ACES writes:"The first would

ACES writes:"The first would merely give parents, teachers and their supporters the freedom to ask the state to approve a new charter school when a local school board refuses to do so."

Translation, If you don't like the decisions made by our locally elected folks, take it to the state instead of working in your community. This from a staff who in all other matters consistently demands non interference in local politics.

Big word for the day? Duplicitous!

Vote NO on 1. Keep the control of our schools and childrens education right here at home and out of the hands od state appointed panels and for profit businesses.

saepperson 11/04/12 - 08:05 am
Is the Chronicle even listening?

Why in the past does the Chronicle argue for more local control of the education system, but then wants to create another state bureaucracy to take control away from the local school boards? Are you not listening to the arguments the local systems have in regard to this amendment? It has nothing to do with control, but it would be taking more funds away from an already strained public school system.

Vote NO on Amendment 1.

avidreader 11/04/12 - 09:13 am

Me too!

dichotomy 11/04/12 - 09:45 am
Vote YES on Amendment 1. This

Vote YES on Amendment 1. This is NOT about giving control to the state. The people who are making this argument obviously do not understand the intent of this amendment. The STATE will do NOTHING to control our local school system UNLESS the PARENTS request that they do. This is about putting SOME control into the LOCAL PARENTS instead of an entrenched school board who ALWAYS opposses anything that might challenge the FAILED status quo of their absolute power and control. This is about FINALLY giving some HOPE to the LOCAL PARENTS.

The people who argue to keep the power with the local school board seem to forget that the local school board has failed miserably to improve our children's education, discipline, and safety. The ONLY idea they have had in the last decade is creating another 8 hour a day youth detention facility called Tubman Alternative. They have neither improved education nor have they improved discipline. Our schools are basically "animal house" and everybody knows it....especially the kids. Charter schools are the ONLY HOPE OF EVERY BREAKING THIS CYCLE. This is not about moving control from the local level to the state level. This is about giving SOME control to the LOCAL PARENTS of kids trapped in our miserably failed school system. Charter schools give parents a CHOICE. If the parents don't like them, they don't have to use them. But if they happen to do a better job than the public school then your kids will get a better, safer, education.

The public schools are terrible. We all know that. The school board and the local education bureaucracy will not make the changes to improve it. We know that. Parents have ONE chance to possibly make things better for their kids and that is CHARTER SCHOOLS. And we all know that too.

Vote YES on Amendment 1 if you are unhappy with what is going on in our public school system, unhappy the quality of your kid's education, and unhappy with the safety of your kids while they are at school.

notme 11/04/12 - 04:48 pm
Vote NO! The state can

Vote NO!

The state can already approve charter schools by the state board of education. Do not need another education system in Georgia to take money away from local school systems. It will come soon from those guys that if you want more money, then raise your local taxes. Oh yes, you still have to follow our unfunded mandates.

charlie marlow
charlie marlow 11/04/12 - 09:39 pm
When a few parents try to go

When a few parents try to go to the courts to override the will of local school boards on the issue of school prayer, this paper cries foul. When parents try to go to an unelected state entity to override local school boards on the issue of a charter school, this paper congratulates the initiative. No, I think I'd rather stick with a local school board that I can vote out of office, thank you very much.

Why do I want to continue having my tax payers fund the cronies of yesterday's politicians? Sure, more will have to be paid in a lease on a year to year basis, but I'd rather a bit more of my tax money pay that way that to be locked into paying 10-20 years on a lease to a property owned by the brother in law of the current mayor or something.

Techfan 11/05/12 - 05:08 am
Amendment 1: Follow the

Amendment 1: Follow the money.

OnTheHill1 11/05/12 - 08:13 pm
Can't Have Your Cake and Eat It Too = Vote NO to Amendment 2

This ballot measure is so simplistically written. The language from Senate Resolution 84 states in part that the state wants to sign a long-term agreement without having the money. Therefore even though a long term lease were signed over 1 year, the resolution provides an "out" should money past the 1st year not be available. In affect the resolution legislates that breaking the lease contract is legal. What's with that?

What building owner would agree to that provision? Their response would probably be to increase the annual lease rate to allow for the risk of the state defaulting, particularly where improvements were made to the property. Therefore the cost to the taxpayers would increase versus decrease. Take out the "out" and I would vote Yes.

Secondly, anything that the Board of Regents wants I'm voting NO based on their egregious treatment of Augusta in the University consolidation name.

Georgia, you simply can't have your cake and eat it too. Vote NO to Amendment 2.

GuyGene 11/05/12 - 08:15 pm
The charter school issue is a

The charter school issue is a little confusing, pitting the local vs. state against each other while trying to help our children... Hmmm, all I know is that we need to do something! Seems to me we definitely need to be able to have charter schools, and if local boards are the ones stopping us, then we need to be able to go to the state - or to someone... to get it done.

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