Charter school amendment inflames passions on both sides - CBS46 News

Charter school amendment inflames passions on both sides

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It is amendment No. 1 on the ballot.

House Resolution 1162 would grant the state more power to create and fund charter schools.

Supporters say the measure would empower parents with more educational choices for their children.

"It will allow parents to have options when their children have been assigned to poor performing schools in their communities," said Nina Gilbert, executive director with Ivy Preparatory Academy in Norcross.

Opponents of the amendment say it would allow the state to undermine the power of local communities.

"They're not necessarily educators and they would be able to erect any school for anybody without standards at any time," said Verdaillia Turner, president of the Georgia Teachers' Association.

The Supreme Court last year ruled that only local school boards have the power to establish and fund charter schools.

The high court's decision prompted lawmakers to pass a resolution to let voters decide if they want to give some of that power back to the state.

Julie Carroll, a teacher whose daughter who attends Ivy Prep, said she would vote for the amendment.

"Parents should have the choice of where they send their children within reason," Carroll said. "I'm not asking to send my child to an expensive private school but if there is a public option, it should be available."

Charter schools are public schools that operate independently.

Turner argued that the amendment would drain money from public schools.

"Once that money is drained, parents will have no place to send their kids when the kids can't get into the special schools," Turner said.

Gilbert countered that argument is inaccurate.

"No funding will be taken from K-12 education to fund a charter school authorized by the new commission," Gilbert said.

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