Top Ten Reasons to Vote "NO" on HR 1162 - #1. The ballot question is deceptive. The wording on the ballot you will see Nov. 6th is intentionally confusing. Here it is:
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
Why is this deceptive? The voter is led to believe that the state does not currently have the authority to approve public charter schools. This is not true. In 2002 the Charter Schools Act of 1998 was amended to create a new category of charter schools termed state chartered special schools. Georgia Code (O.C.G.A. 20-2-2064.1 (c) states clearly that if a local board of education denies a charter petition, the petitioner may seek approval from the State Board of Education to create a state chartered school.
The enabling legislation for HR 1162, HB 797, also reaffirms the State Board of Educations existing authority to authorize state charter schools when stating "the State Board of Education shall review and may overrule the approval or renewal of a state charter school by the commission." 20-2-2083 (a) (1) 94-95. In January of 2012, Fulton Science Academy MS, applied to become a state charter school after being denied a charter by the Fulton County BOE. No one said it was illegal to do so. They were also denied a state charter.
Are the legislators who sponsored this bill trying to pull a "fast one?" Certainly looks like that to me. One thing is certain - the money spent on lawyers by the state and charter advocates to assert their authority over local boards of education in the past 10 plus years could probably have built several new schools. Wouldn't you like to know that dollar figure?
Certain state legislators and charter advocates see everything in "free-market" terms. Parents, students, voters...we're all in essence, consumers. We really need to be smart shoppers when it comes to voting on HR-1162. Dr. Barge gave us the "carfax" on August 14th (see previous post). Vote "NO" on HR 1162 - it's a LEMON!