Difference between revisions of "Georgia Charter Schools, Amendment 1 (2012)"

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  referred  = [[Georgia Legislature]]|
 
  referred  = [[Georgia Legislature]]|
 
  topic = [[:Category:Certified, education, 2012|Education]]|
 
  topic = [[:Category:Certified, education, 2012|Education]]|
  status = On the ballot|
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  status = {{Approved}}|
 
}}
 
}}
{{tnr}} A '''Georgia Charter Schools Amendment''' will appear on the [[Georgia 2012 ballot measures|November 6, 2012 ballot]] in Georgia as a {{lrcafull}}. The measure gives the state legislature the right to create special schools.<ref>[http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2011/06/25/the-brewing-of-a-bruising-fight-over-charter-schools/ ''The Atlanta Journal-Constitution'',"The brewing of a bruising fight over charter schools," June 25, 2011]</ref><ref name="pass"/>
+
{{tnr}}The '''Georgia Charter Schools Amendment''' appeared on the [[Georgia 2012 ballot measures|November 6, 2012 ballot]] in Georgia as a {{lrcafull}}, where it was '''approved'''. The measure gave the state legislature the right to create special schools.<ref>[http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2011/06/25/the-brewing-of-a-bruising-fight-over-charter-schools/ ''The Atlanta Journal-Constitution'',"The brewing of a bruising fight over charter schools," June 25, 2011]</ref><ref name="pass"/>
  
 
The measure developed following a [[BC2011#May|May 2011]] ruling by the [[Georgia Supreme Court]]. The court ruled that the state's involvement in the establishment of public charter schools - the [http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/pea_charter.aspx?PageReq=PEACSCommission Georgia Charter School Commission] - was unconstitutional. Specifically, the court ruled that the commission was illegal because it approved and funded charter schools despite objection by local school boards. The ruling does not apply to charter schools that were not opposed by local boards. In total, the ruling is reported to have affected 16 schools.<ref name="APJun27">[http://mdjonline.com/view/full_story/14485112/article-Charter-schools-will-learn-if-they-can-remain-open?instance=secondary_story_left_column ''Associated Press'',"Ga. charter schools will learn if they can remain open," June 27, 2011]</ref>
 
The measure developed following a [[BC2011#May|May 2011]] ruling by the [[Georgia Supreme Court]]. The court ruled that the state's involvement in the establishment of public charter schools - the [http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/pea_charter.aspx?PageReq=PEACSCommission Georgia Charter School Commission] - was unconstitutional. Specifically, the court ruled that the commission was illegal because it approved and funded charter schools despite objection by local school boards. The ruling does not apply to charter schools that were not opposed by local boards. In total, the ruling is reported to have affected 16 schools.<ref name="APJun27">[http://mdjonline.com/view/full_story/14485112/article-Charter-schools-will-learn-if-they-can-remain-open?instance=secondary_story_left_column ''Associated Press'',"Ga. charter schools will learn if they can remain open," June 27, 2011]</ref>
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The [http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/pea_charter.aspx?PageReq=PEACSCommission Georgia Charter School Commission] was created in 2008 in reaction to local school boards rejecting charter petitions. According officials, petitions were rejected because "they didn't like the competition."<ref name="APJun27"/>
 
The [http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/pea_charter.aspx?PageReq=PEACSCommission Georgia Charter School Commission] was created in 2008 in reaction to local school boards rejecting charter petitions. According officials, petitions were rejected because "they didn't like the competition."<ref name="APJun27"/>
 +
==Election results==
 +
:: ''See also: [[2012 ballot measure election results]]''
 +
 +
{{Short outcome
 +
| title = Georgia Amendment 1
 +
| yes = 2,178,183
 +
| yespct = 58.58
 +
| no = 1,540,198
 +
| nopct = 41.42
 +
| image = {{approved}}
 +
| unresolved =
 +
}}
 +
[[Category:Approved, general, 2012]]
 +
 +
:''These results are from the [http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/GA/42277/110818/en/summary.html Georgia Secretary of State] and have been certified as final.''
 +
 +
==Text of measure==
 +
The official ballot text read as follows:<ref>[http://www.sos.ga.gov/elections/ConstitutionalAmendmentsForNovember2012.pdf ''Georgia Secretary of State'',"Amendment 1," retrieved September 27, 2012]</ref>
 +
 +
<blockquote><b>Provides for improving student achievement and pa rental involvement through more public charter school options.<br/>
 +
House Resolution No. 1162 Ga. L. 2012, p. 1364</b><br/><br/>
 +
 +
''Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?''<br/><br/>
 +
<b>( ) YES</b><br/>
 +
<b>( ) NO</b></blockquote>
 +
 +
===Ballot summary===
 +
The following ballot summary was taken from the [[Georgia Secretary of State]] website:<ref>[http://www.sos.ga.gov/elections/ConstitutionalAmendmentsForNovember2012.pdf ''Georgia Secretary of State'',"Proposed Constitutional Amendments, General Election, November 6, 2012," retreived October 10, 2012]</ref>
 +
 +
<i>This proposal authorizes the General Assembly to provide by law for the creation of public state charter schools, which would operate under the terms of charters between the State Board of Education and charter petitioners, while preserving the authority of local boards of education to establish local charter schools. Specifically, the proposal clarifies the authority of the General Assembly to provide for state-wide policies for public education prior to the college or post-secondary level, restates the authority of the General Assembly to establish special schools, prohibits the incurrence of bonded indebtedness or the levy of school taxes for the support of special schools without approval of the local board of education and the voters in the affected school system, provides that special schools may include public state charter schools, preserves the authority of local boards of education to establish local charter schools, authorizes the expenditure of state funds for special schools, and prohibits the deduction of certain state funds from local school districts as a direct result or consequence of the enrollment of students in state charter schools.
 +
 +
The General Assembly has enacted a law to exercise the authority granted by the proposed constitutional amendment to provide for public state charter schools. This law will become effective only if the constitutional amendment is ratified by the voters. This law is published at Georgia Laws 2012, p, 1298, Sec. 1, and was enacted by 2012 HB 797, Act No. 766.
 +
 +
A copy of this entire proposed constitutional amendment is on file in the office of the judge of the probate court and is available for public inspection.</i>
  
 
==Background==
 
==Background==
Line 21: Line 55:
  
 
==Support==
 
==Support==
* Kyle Wingfield, a columnist for the ''The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,'' wrote in support of the measure saying that the "key to improving the system, rather than merely pouring more money into it, is restoring the state’s ability to approve charter schools."  He further argues that charter school allow for more innovation and accountability while increasing parents' options for education.<ref>[http://blogs.ajc.com/kyle-wingfield/2012/01/26/pass-charter-schools-amendment-get-back-to-fixing-education-in-georgia/ ''Atlanta Journal-Constitution'' "Pass charter schools amendment, get back to fixing education in Georgia," January 26, 2012]</ref>
+
===Supporters===
* Senator [[Mike Crane]] has spoken in support of the measure saying the school boards should not have full control of public education because the state provides about 50 - 80% of the school system's funding.  Speaking at a town hall meeting he asked, "Should all the state dollars go to fund a system of education or should it go to the students?"<ref>[http://www.times-herald.com/local/20120506crane-sidebar-MOS ''Times-Herald'' "Crane speaks on charter schools, DOT, TSPLOST at town hall," May 6, 2012]</ref>
+
* Technology Association of Georgia
 +
* Senator [[Mike Crane]]
 +
* Senator [[Buddy Carter]]
  
 
===Arguments===
 
===Arguments===
* Senator [[Buddy Carter]] wrote an opinion piece for the ''Savannah Morning News'' that posed counterpoints for a number of arguments against the amendment. Specifically, Sen. Carter argues that the creation of state charter schools will not divert funds from public schools. He also states that the schools are required to be run by local non-profit boards and thus, the amendment would increase local control of education rather than the state's.  Sen. Carter also mentions that the amendment is needed due to a [[Judgepedia:Georgia Supreme Court|Georgia Supreme Court]] ruling made in [[BC2011|2011]] that declared the Georgia Charter Schools Commission unconstitutional because it violated the "special schools" provision of the Georgia constitution.<ref>[http://savannahnow.com/bryan-county-now/2012-09-20/charter-schools-positive-georgia#.UFstLaPAEXZ ''Savannah Morning News'',"Charter schools a positive for Georgia," September 20, 2012]</ref>
+
* Kyle Wingfield, a columnist for the ''The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,'' wrote in support of the measure saying that the "key to improving the system, rather than merely pouring more money into it, is restoring the state’s ability to approve charter schools."  He further argues that charter school allow for more innovation and accountability while increasing parents' options for education.<ref>[http://blogs.ajc.com/kyle-wingfield/2012/01/26/pass-charter-schools-amendment-get-back-to-fixing-education-in-georgia/ ''Atlanta Journal-Constitution'' "Pass charter schools amendment, get back to fixing education in Georgia," January 26, 2012]</ref>
 +
 
 +
* Sen. Crane spoke in support of the measure saying the school boards should not have full control of public education because the state provides about 50 - 80% of the school system's funding.  Speaking at a town hall meeting he asked, "Should all the state dollars go to fund a system of education or should it go to the students?"<ref>[http://www.times-herald.com/local/20120506crane-sidebar-MOS ''Times-Herald'' "Crane speaks on charter schools, DOT, TSPLOST at town hall," May 6, 2012]</ref>
 +
 
 +
* Sen. Buddy Carter wrote an opinion piece for the ''Savannah Morning News'' that posed counterpoints for a number of arguments against the amendment. Specifically, Sen. Carter argues that the creation of state charter schools will not divert funds from public schools. He also states that the schools are required to be run by local non-profit boards and thus, the amendment would increase local control of education rather than the state's.  Sen. Carter also mentions that the amendment is needed due to a [[Judgepedia:Georgia Supreme Court|Georgia Supreme Court]] ruling made in [[BC2011|2011]] that declared the Georgia Charter Schools Commission unconstitutional because it violated the "special schools" provision of the Georgia constitution.<ref>[http://savannahnow.com/bryan-county-now/2012-09-20/charter-schools-positive-georgia#.UFstLaPAEXZ ''Savannah Morning News'',"Charter schools a positive for Georgia," September 20, 2012]</ref>
  
 
==Opposition==
 
==Opposition==
* The main opposition to the measure is [http://www.votesmartgeorgia.com/ Vote Smart Georgia]
+
The opposition campaign to the measure is [http://www.votesmartgeorgia.com/ Vote Smart Georgia].
  
* Gary Hobbs, superintendent for Walton County Public Schools, spoke out against the legislatively-proposed amendment saying, "It’s disappointing to me the legislative folks would try to go around a Supreme Court decision."  He went further to criticize the state's push for taxpayer funded charter schools saying, "We don’t have funds to support the public schools we have now, much less start another system funded by taxpayer money."<ref>[http://waltontribune.com/news/article_2d2ecc8e-4922-11e1-b5bf-0019bb2963f4.html ''Walton Tribune'' "Charter school amendment draws local fire," January 29, 2012]</ref>
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===Opponenets===
 +
Following is a list of organizations who stood against Amendment 1:
 +
{{colbegin|2}}
 +
* GAEL - Georgia Association of Educational Leaders
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* Georgia Association of Educators
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* Georgia Association of School Psychologist
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* GMEA - Georgia Music Educators Assocation
 +
* GPTA - Georgia Parent Teacher Association
 +
* GREA - Georgia Retired Educators Association
 +
* GSBA - Georgia School Boards Association
 +
* GSSA - Georgia School Superintendents Association
 +
* League of Women Voters of GA
 +
* Legislative Black Caucus of GA
 +
* NAACP Georgia State Conference
 +
* PAGE - Professional Association of Georgia Educators
 +
* SEF - Southern Education Foundation
 +
* GFT - [http://ga.aft.org/no-amendment-1 Georgia Federation of Teachers]
 +
{{colend}}
  
* Georgia Schools Superintendent John Barge, a Republican, has announced his opposition to the measure, saying, "I cannot support the creation of a new and costly state bureaucracy that takes away local control of schools and unnecessarily duplicates the good work already being done by local districts, the Georgia Department of Education, and the state Board of Education. What's more, this constitutional amendment would direct taxpayer dollars into the pockets of out-of-state, for-profit charter school companies whose schools perform no better than traditional public schools and locally approved charter schools (and worse, in some cases)."<ref>[http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-politics-elections/barge-comes-out-against-1499266.html?cxtype=rss_georgia-politics-elections ''Atlanta Journal-Constitution'' "Barge comes out against charter schools amendment," August 14, 2012]</ref>
+
===Arguments===
 +
 
 +
* Georgia State Schools Superintendent Dr. John Barge, a Republican, announced his opposition to the measure, saying, "I cannot support the creation of a new and costly state bureaucracy that takes away local control of schools and unnecessarily duplicates the good work already being done by local districts, the Georgia Department of Education, and the state Board of Education. What's more, this constitutional amendment would direct taxpayer dollars into the pockets of out-of-state, for-profit charter school companies whose schools perform no better than traditional public schools and locally approved charter schools (and worse, in some cases)."<ref>[http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-politics-elections/barge-comes-out-against-1499266.html?cxtype=rss_georgia-politics-elections ''Atlanta Journal-Constitution'' "Barge comes out against charter schools amendment," August 14, 2012]</ref>
 +
 
 +
* Gary Hobbs, superintendent for Walton County Public Schools, spoke out against the legislatively-proposed amendment saying, "It’s disappointing to me the legislative folks would try to go around a Supreme Court decision."  He went further to criticize the state's push for taxpayer funded charter schools saying, "We don’t have funds to support the public schools we have now, much less start another system funded by taxpayer money."<ref>[http://waltontribune.com/news/article_2d2ecc8e-4922-11e1-b5bf-0019bb2963f4.html ''Walton Tribune'' "Charter school amendment draws local fire," January 29, 2012]</ref>
  
 
* Tom Crawford, in an [[BC2012#August|August 21]] op-ed piece for the ''Blackshear Times'', highlighted counterpoints to several arguments made by supporters of the charter school amendment. Some of Crawford's key points included: there is enough existing choice for parents because there are already 315 charter schools compared to the just over 500 public schools, studies have shown that charter schools perform no better than public schools on average, charter schools divert money from already strapped public schools that are being forced to shorten their academic calendars.<ref>[http://www.theblacksheartimes.com/articles/2012/08/21/opinion/doc5033ce42908fa956584382.txt ''Blackshear Times'' "CRAWFORD / Here are some facts about Georgia’s charter schools amendment," August 21, 2012]</ref>
 
* Tom Crawford, in an [[BC2012#August|August 21]] op-ed piece for the ''Blackshear Times'', highlighted counterpoints to several arguments made by supporters of the charter school amendment. Some of Crawford's key points included: there is enough existing choice for parents because there are already 315 charter schools compared to the just over 500 public schools, studies have shown that charter schools perform no better than public schools on average, charter schools divert money from already strapped public schools that are being forced to shorten their academic calendars.<ref>[http://www.theblacksheartimes.com/articles/2012/08/21/opinion/doc5033ce42908fa956584382.txt ''Blackshear Times'' "CRAWFORD / Here are some facts about Georgia’s charter schools amendment," August 21, 2012]</ref>
  
* Some opponents argue that the amendment would harm public education in the state by directing even more state money from public schools to out-of-state for-profit systems. Russell J. Edwards, an Athens attorney and community activist, argues that such a practice is especially harmful because the housing crisis has caused the primary funding for public education, local property tax receipts, to decrease significantly.<ref>[http://onlineathens.com/opinion/2012-09-18/edwards-amendment-would-hurt-public-schools ''Athens Banner-Herald'',"Edwards: Amendment would hurt public schools," September 18, 2012]</ref>
+
* Some opponents argued that the amendment would harm public education in the state by directing even more state money from public schools to out-of-state for-profit systems. Russell J. Edwards, an Athens attorney and community activist, argues that such a practice is especially harmful because the housing crisis has caused the primary funding for public education, local property tax receipts, to decrease significantly.<ref>[http://onlineathens.com/opinion/2012-09-18/edwards-amendment-would-hurt-public-schools ''Athens Banner-Herald'',"Edwards: Amendment would hurt public schools," September 18, 2012]</ref>
 +
 
 +
* Sue Ella Deadwyler, creator of the website GeorgiaInsight.org, vocalized her opposition to the amendment, saying that the legislature's creation of charter schools in unconstitutional. During a speech made at the Harvest Christian Community Center, Deadwyler cited her chief complaint about the measure, saying, "Charter schools remove local control by local school boards. Nowhere in the constitution does it say anyone can come in and override the local boards of education."<ref>[http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/10-10-2012/charter-schools-amendment-ballot-draws-heat ''TheCitizen.com'',"Charter schools amendment on ballot draws heat," October 10, 2012]</ref>
  
 
===Tactics and strategies===
 
===Tactics and strategies===
 
On Tuesday, [[BC2012#September|September 25, 2012]], a coalition of groups protested outside the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta. Senator [[Emanuel Jones]] was among the protesters and said, "We do not support this governor's takeover of usurping the power of these locally-elected school boards to make that decision."<ref>[http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/19636604/groups-form-coalition-to-fight-charter-amendment ''FOX 5'' "Charter amendment debated at Ga. Capitol," September 26, 2012]</ref>
 
On Tuesday, [[BC2012#September|September 25, 2012]], a coalition of groups protested outside the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta. Senator [[Emanuel Jones]] was among the protesters and said, "We do not support this governor's takeover of usurping the power of these locally-elected school boards to make that decision."<ref>[http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/19636604/groups-form-coalition-to-fight-charter-amendment ''FOX 5'' "Charter amendment debated at Ga. Capitol," September 26, 2012]</ref>
 +
 +
==Media editorial positions==
 +
:: ''See also: [[Endorsements of Georgia ballot measures, 2012]]''
 +
===Support===
 +
* '''Augusta Chronicle''' said, "We urge you to vote for freedom by voting 'yes' on the amendment, listed as Amendment 1 on your ballot."<ref>[http://georgiahope2012.com/public-endorsements-roll-in-for-charter-amendment/ Families for Better Public Schools campaign website]</ref>
  
 
==Polls==
 
==Polls==
 
:: ''See also: [[Polls, 2012 ballot measures]]''
 
:: ''See also: [[Polls, 2012 ballot measures]]''
* A '''March 29-30, 2012''', poll by McLaughlin & Associates revealed that 58% would vote for the amendment, while 23% would vote against it, and 19% were undecided. A total of 600 likely voters were polled. The margin of error was +/-4%.<ref>[http://romenews-tribune.com/bookmark/19028167 ''Rome News Tribune'' "Poll: Charter-school amendment starts with some support, many undecided," June 19, 2012]</ref>
+
* A '''March 29-30, 2012''', poll by McLaughlin & Associates estimated that 58% would vote for the amendment, while 23% would vote against it, and 19% were undecided. A total of 600 likely voters were polled. The margin of error was +/-4%.<ref>[http://romenews-tribune.com/bookmark/19028167 ''Rome News Tribune'' "Poll: Charter-school amendment starts with some support, many undecided," June 19, 2012]</ref>
* A '''September 4, 2012''', poll by Sand Mountain Communications revealed that 50% would vote for the amendment, while 25% would vote against it, and 25% were undecided. A total of 1,331 likely voters were polled. The margin of error was +/-3%.<ref>[http://romenews-tribune.com/view/full_story/20110015/article-Half-of-polled-voters-favor-charter-school-amendment?instance=home_news_lead_story ''Rome News Tribune'' "Half of polled voters favor charter-school amendment," September 11, 2012]</ref>
+
* A '''September 4, 2012''', poll by Sand Mountain Communications indicated that 50% would vote for the amendment, while 25% would vote against it, and 25% were undecided. A total of 1,331 likely voters were polled. The margin of error was +/-3%.<ref>[http://romenews-tribune.com/view/full_story/20110015/article-Half-of-polled-voters-favor-charter-school-amendment?instance=home_news_lead_story ''Rome News Tribune'' "Half of polled voters favor charter-school amendment," September 11, 2012]</ref>
 
<table style="float: right; margin-left: 1em; margin-bottom: 0.5em; width: 242px; border: #99B3FF solid 1px">
 
<table style="float: right; margin-left: 1em; margin-bottom: 0.5em; width: 242px; border: #99B3FF solid 1px">
 
<tr><td>{{BallotMeasurePollLegend}}</td></tr>
 
<tr><td>{{BallotMeasurePollLegend}}</td></tr>
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:: ''See also: [[Legislatively-referred_constitutional_amendment#2.2F3rds_supermajority|How the Georgia Constitution is amended]]''
 
:: ''See also: [[Legislatively-referred_constitutional_amendment#2.2F3rds_supermajority|How the Georgia Constitution is amended]]''
  
The amendment requires [[Laws governing ballot measures in Georgia|approval on a two-thirds vote]] by both the [[Georgia House of Representatives|State House]] and [[Georgia State Senate|State Senate]].
+
The amendment required [[Laws governing ballot measures in Georgia|approval from a two-thirds vote]] by both the [[Georgia House of Representatives|State House]] and [[Georgia State Senate|State Senate]].
  
 
The first vote by the House in early February fell 10 votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed.<ref>[http://www.wisconsinrapidstribune.com/usatoday/article/38626729?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p ''Associated Press'' "Ga. lawmakers eye vote on creating charter schools," February 22, 2012]</ref>  However, another vote was held on Wednesday, [[BC2012#February|February 22]], in which the measure, [http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20112012/HR/1162 HR 1162], passed the House with a vote of 123-48.<ref>[http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2012/02/23/1943864/georgia-general-assembly-house.html ''Ledger-Enquirer'' "Georgia House passes charter school measure," February 23, 2012]</ref>
 
The first vote by the House in early February fell 10 votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed.<ref>[http://www.wisconsinrapidstribune.com/usatoday/article/38626729?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p ''Associated Press'' "Ga. lawmakers eye vote on creating charter schools," February 22, 2012]</ref>  However, another vote was held on Wednesday, [[BC2012#February|February 22]], in which the measure, [http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20112012/HR/1162 HR 1162], passed the House with a vote of 123-48.<ref>[http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2012/02/23/1943864/georgia-general-assembly-house.html ''Ledger-Enquirer'' "Georgia House passes charter school measure," February 23, 2012]</ref>
  
On Thursday [[BC2012#February|February 23, 2012]], the [[Education and Youth Committee, Georgia State Senate|Education and Youth Committee]] passed the amendment 7-5, thus passing it to the the full state Senate.<ref>[http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=246018 ''Associated Press'' "Ga. Senate committee passes charter amendment," February 24, 2012]</ref>
+
On Thursday, [[BC2012#February|February 23, 2012]], the [[Education and Youth Committee, Georgia State Senate|Education and Youth Committee]] passed the amendment 7-5, thus passing it to the the full state Senate.<ref>[http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=246018 ''Associated Press'' "Ga. Senate committee passes charter amendment," February 24, 2012]</ref>
  
 
On Monday, [[BC2012#March|March 19, 2012]], the [[Georgia Senate]] passed the ballot proposal 40-16, placing the measure on the ballot for November.<ref name="pass">[http://jacksonville.com/news/georgia/2012-03-19/story/general-assembly-passes-charter-school-amendment ''Associated Press'' "General Assembly passes charter school amendment," March 19, 2012]</ref>
 
On Monday, [[BC2012#March|March 19, 2012]], the [[Georgia Senate]] passed the ballot proposal 40-16, placing the measure on the ballot for November.<ref name="pass">[http://jacksonville.com/news/georgia/2012-03-19/story/general-assembly-passes-charter-school-amendment ''Associated Press'' "General Assembly passes charter school amendment," March 19, 2012]</ref>
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===Support===
 
===Support===
 
* [http://bettergaschools.org/ Campaign website for Families for Better Public Schools]
 
* [http://bettergaschools.org/ Campaign website for Families for Better Public Schools]
 +
 +
===Opposition===
 +
* [http://www.votesmartgeorgia.com/ Campaign website for Vote SMART Georgia]
  
 
==References==
 
==References==

Revision as of 13:46, 3 April 2013

Charter Schools Amendment
Flag of Georgia.png
Quick stats
Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Georgia Constitution
Referred by:Georgia Legislature
Topic:Education
Status:Approveda
The Georgia Charter Schools Amendment appeared on the November 6, 2012 ballot in Georgia as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The measure gave the state legislature the right to create special schools.[1][2]

The measure developed following a May 2011 ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court. The court ruled that the state's involvement in the establishment of public charter schools - the Georgia Charter School Commission - was unconstitutional. Specifically, the court ruled that the commission was illegal because it approved and funded charter schools despite objection by local school boards. The ruling does not apply to charter schools that were not opposed by local boards. In total, the ruling is reported to have affected 16 schools.[3]

According to reports, in June 2011 the state Board of Education proceeded to approve applications for 11 charter schools following the ruling.[4]

The Georgia Charter School Commission was created in 2008 in reaction to local school boards rejecting charter petitions. According officials, petitions were rejected because "they didn't like the competition."[3]

Election results

See also: 2012 ballot measure election results
Georgia Amendment 1
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 2,178,183 58.58%
No1,540,19841.42%
These results are from the Georgia Secretary of State and have been certified as final.

Text of measure

The official ballot text read as follows:[5]

Provides for improving student achievement and pa rental involvement through more public charter school options.

House Resolution No. 1162 Ga. L. 2012, p. 1364

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?

( ) YES

( ) NO

Ballot summary

The following ballot summary was taken from the Georgia Secretary of State website:[6]

This proposal authorizes the General Assembly to provide by law for the creation of public state charter schools, which would operate under the terms of charters between the State Board of Education and charter petitioners, while preserving the authority of local boards of education to establish local charter schools. Specifically, the proposal clarifies the authority of the General Assembly to provide for state-wide policies for public education prior to the college or post-secondary level, restates the authority of the General Assembly to establish special schools, prohibits the incurrence of bonded indebtedness or the levy of school taxes for the support of special schools without approval of the local board of education and the voters in the affected school system, provides that special schools may include public state charter schools, preserves the authority of local boards of education to establish local charter schools, authorizes the expenditure of state funds for special schools, and prohibits the deduction of certain state funds from local school districts as a direct result or consequence of the enrollment of students in state charter schools.

The General Assembly has enacted a law to exercise the authority granted by the proposed constitutional amendment to provide for public state charter schools. This law will become effective only if the constitutional amendment is ratified by the voters. This law is published at Georgia Laws 2012, p, 1298, Sec. 1, and was enacted by 2012 HB 797, Act No. 766.

A copy of this entire proposed constitutional amendment is on file in the office of the judge of the probate court and is available for public inspection.

Background

A bill enabling funding for state charter schools was signed into law on May 3, 2012, by Governor Nathan Deal. The bill, HB 797, will only have effect if the Georgia Charter Schools Amendment gains public approval in November.[7]

Support

Supporters

Arguments

  • Kyle Wingfield, a columnist for the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, wrote in support of the measure saying that the "key to improving the system, rather than merely pouring more money into it, is restoring the state’s ability to approve charter schools." He further argues that charter school allow for more innovation and accountability while increasing parents' options for education.[8]
  • Sen. Crane spoke in support of the measure saying the school boards should not have full control of public education because the state provides about 50 - 80% of the school system's funding. Speaking at a town hall meeting he asked, "Should all the state dollars go to fund a system of education or should it go to the students?"[9]
  • Sen. Buddy Carter wrote an opinion piece for the Savannah Morning News that posed counterpoints for a number of arguments against the amendment. Specifically, Sen. Carter argues that the creation of state charter schools will not divert funds from public schools. He also states that the schools are required to be run by local non-profit boards and thus, the amendment would increase local control of education rather than the state's. Sen. Carter also mentions that the amendment is needed due to a Georgia Supreme Court ruling made in 2011 that declared the Georgia Charter Schools Commission unconstitutional because it violated the "special schools" provision of the Georgia constitution.[10]

Opposition

The opposition campaign to the measure is Vote Smart Georgia.

Opponenets

Following is a list of organizations who stood against Amendment 1:

  • GAEL - Georgia Association of Educational Leaders
  • Georgia Association of Educators
  • Georgia Association of School Psychologist
  • GMEA - Georgia Music Educators Assocation
  • GPTA - Georgia Parent Teacher Association
  • GREA - Georgia Retired Educators Association
  • GSBA - Georgia School Boards Association
  • GSSA - Georgia School Superintendents Association
  • League of Women Voters of GA
  • Legislative Black Caucus of GA
  • NAACP Georgia State Conference
  • PAGE - Professional Association of Georgia Educators
  • SEF - Southern Education Foundation
  • GFT - Georgia Federation of Teachers

Arguments

  • Georgia State Schools Superintendent Dr. John Barge, a Republican, announced his opposition to the measure, saying, "I cannot support the creation of a new and costly state bureaucracy that takes away local control of schools and unnecessarily duplicates the good work already being done by local districts, the Georgia Department of Education, and the state Board of Education. What's more, this constitutional amendment would direct taxpayer dollars into the pockets of out-of-state, for-profit charter school companies whose schools perform no better than traditional public schools and locally approved charter schools (and worse, in some cases)."[11]
  • Gary Hobbs, superintendent for Walton County Public Schools, spoke out against the legislatively-proposed amendment saying, "It’s disappointing to me the legislative folks would try to go around a Supreme Court decision." He went further to criticize the state's push for taxpayer funded charter schools saying, "We don’t have funds to support the public schools we have now, much less start another system funded by taxpayer money."[12]
  • Tom Crawford, in an August 21 op-ed piece for the Blackshear Times, highlighted counterpoints to several arguments made by supporters of the charter school amendment. Some of Crawford's key points included: there is enough existing choice for parents because there are already 315 charter schools compared to the just over 500 public schools, studies have shown that charter schools perform no better than public schools on average, charter schools divert money from already strapped public schools that are being forced to shorten their academic calendars.[13]
  • Some opponents argued that the amendment would harm public education in the state by directing even more state money from public schools to out-of-state for-profit systems. Russell J. Edwards, an Athens attorney and community activist, argues that such a practice is especially harmful because the housing crisis has caused the primary funding for public education, local property tax receipts, to decrease significantly.[14]
  • Sue Ella Deadwyler, creator of the website GeorgiaInsight.org, vocalized her opposition to the amendment, saying that the legislature's creation of charter schools in unconstitutional. During a speech made at the Harvest Christian Community Center, Deadwyler cited her chief complaint about the measure, saying, "Charter schools remove local control by local school boards. Nowhere in the constitution does it say anyone can come in and override the local boards of education."[15]

Tactics and strategies

On Tuesday, September 25, 2012, a coalition of groups protested outside the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta. Senator Emanuel Jones was among the protesters and said, "We do not support this governor's takeover of usurping the power of these locally-elected school boards to make that decision."[16]

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Georgia ballot measures, 2012

Support

  • Augusta Chronicle said, "We urge you to vote for freedom by voting 'yes' on the amendment, listed as Amendment 1 on your ballot."[17]

Polls

See also: Polls, 2012 ballot measures
  • A March 29-30, 2012, poll by McLaughlin & Associates estimated that 58% would vote for the amendment, while 23% would vote against it, and 19% were undecided. A total of 600 likely voters were polled. The margin of error was +/-4%.[18]
  • A September 4, 2012, poll by Sand Mountain Communications indicated that 50% would vote for the amendment, while 25% would vote against it, and 25% were undecided. A total of 1,331 likely voters were polled. The margin of error was +/-3%.[19]
Legend

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
March 29-30, 2012 McLaughlin & Associates 58% 23% 19% 600
September 4, 2012 Sand Mountain Communications 50% 25% 25% 1,331

Path to the ballot

See also: How the Georgia Constitution is amended

The amendment required approval from a two-thirds vote by both the State House and State Senate.

The first vote by the House in early February fell 10 votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed.[20] However, another vote was held on Wednesday, February 22, in which the measure, HR 1162, passed the House with a vote of 123-48.[21]

On Thursday, February 23, 2012, the Education and Youth Committee passed the amendment 7-5, thus passing it to the the full state Senate.[22]

On Monday, March 19, 2012, the Georgia Senate passed the ballot proposal 40-16, placing the measure on the ballot for November.[2]

See also

Template:EVeram

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Suggest a link

External links

Basic information

Support

Opposition

References

  1. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,"The brewing of a bruising fight over charter schools," June 25, 2011
  2. 2.0 2.1 Associated Press "General Assembly passes charter school amendment," March 19, 2012
  3. 3.0 3.1 Associated Press,"Ga. charter schools will learn if they can remain open," June 27, 2011
  4. Associated Press,"Ga. board committee approves applications of charter schools affected by court ruling," June 27, 2011
  5. Georgia Secretary of State,"Amendment 1," retrieved September 27, 2012
  6. Georgia Secretary of State,"Proposed Constitutional Amendments, General Election, November 6, 2012," retreived October 10, 2012
  7. Associated Press "Gov. Deal Approves Funding System for State-Formed Charter Schools," May 3, 2012
  8. Atlanta Journal-Constitution "Pass charter schools amendment, get back to fixing education in Georgia," January 26, 2012
  9. Times-Herald "Crane speaks on charter schools, DOT, TSPLOST at town hall," May 6, 2012
  10. Savannah Morning News,"Charter schools a positive for Georgia," September 20, 2012
  11. Atlanta Journal-Constitution "Barge comes out against charter schools amendment," August 14, 2012
  12. Walton Tribune "Charter school amendment draws local fire," January 29, 2012
  13. Blackshear Times "CRAWFORD / Here are some facts about Georgia’s charter schools amendment," August 21, 2012
  14. Athens Banner-Herald,"Edwards: Amendment would hurt public schools," September 18, 2012
  15. TheCitizen.com,"Charter schools amendment on ballot draws heat," October 10, 2012
  16. FOX 5 "Charter amendment debated at Ga. Capitol," September 26, 2012
  17. Families for Better Public Schools campaign website
  18. Rome News Tribune "Poll: Charter-school amendment starts with some support, many undecided," June 19, 2012
  19. Rome News Tribune "Half of polled voters favor charter-school amendment," September 11, 2012
  20. Associated Press "Ga. lawmakers eye vote on creating charter schools," February 22, 2012
  21. Ledger-Enquirer "Georgia House passes charter school measure," February 23, 2012
  22. Associated Press "Ga. Senate committee passes charter amendment," February 24, 2012