Charter school amendment hangs in the balance - CBS46 News

Charter school amendment hangs in the balance

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We should know next Tuesday night if Georgians want to give the state more power to create charter schools.

On Friday, students themselves tried to get voters to say yes to the controversial amendment.

Dozens of ralliers marched through downtown Atlanta, then to the steps of the state Capitol, chanting, "vote yes!" and "hope is in our hands!"

Nala Jewell is a sixth grader at Heritage Preparatory Academy in Atlanta.

Jewell believes the constitutional amendment would help ensure other kids get a chance at the same educational opportunity she has.

"You're helping them get a better opportunity," Jewell said. "When you vote for charter schools, you're helping not just my charter school, but everyone else's charter school."

Sen. Vincent Fort, who opposes the amendment that would expand the state's power to create and fund charter schools, said it would concentrate too much power over public education into the hands of politicians at the Statehouse.

"This is not about whether or not you think charter schools work," Fort said. "The local school board who you and I vote for ought to be the ones who authorize public schools."

Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, a key supporter of the amendment, said Fort was wrong.

"While I have great respect for Sen. Fort, he obviously hasn't read the bill," Rogers said, adding the amendment merely would give parents more options in their children's education. "All this does is allow the state to act as an appeals board if a local charter gets turned down."

The state board of education already has the power to create charter schools.

CBS Atlanta News asked Rogers if that's the case, why does Georgia need a constitutional amendment to reaffirm that?

CBS Atlanta will tell you what Rogers said at 6 p.m.

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