Charter Amendment Clears Senate

Georgia voters will decide whether the state can approve charter schools.

Correction: The subhead for this article originally said the amendment would allow the state to force local school districts to fund charter schools. It would not do that.

The Georgia Senate this afternoon decided to let voters choose whether the state should have full authority to approve local charter schools and their funding.

“This resolution is about doing what is right for students, families and communities throughout Georgia,” Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) said in a news release. “Years from now, we will look back at the hurdles we have overcome in order to advance education reform in Georgia and mark today as a milestone in our fight for educational freedom and choice.”

On a 40-16 roll-call vote, two votes more than the two-thirds majority required, the Senate approved H.R. 1162, a Republican response to last year’s 4-3 state Supreme Court decision undermining the authority of the Georgia Charter Schools Commission to .

The court said the state commission could not force school districts to pay for charter schools the local school board had rejected, such as .

Do you support the constitutional amendment on charter schools? Tell us in the comment area below.

The state Board of Education then , allowing it despite by the county . But that action left the school and the charter movement in limbo without a constitutional amendment overriding the court decision.

The amendment referendum will read as follows on ballots in November:

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

All persons desiring to vote in favor of ratifying the proposed amendment shall vote "Yes." All persons desiring to vote against ratifying the proposed amendment shall vote "No." If such amendment shall be ratified as provided in said Paragraph of the Constitution, it shall become a part of the Constitution of this state.

Rogers sponsored H.R. 1162 in the Senate after the on a 123-48 vote. The House .

To get 38 votes in the 56-member Senate, Rogers needed at least a couple of Democrats to drop their opposition, and that’s what happened.

“The Senate Democrats who are going to change their votes are doing so because they have either had their arms twisted very hard or because they are getting something very significant in exchange,” Karen Hallacy of East Cobb, the legislative chairwoman of the Georgia PTA, wrote in an email blast this morning in which she called for parents to put pressure on those Democrats to stand their ground against the bill.

“It is disappointing that bills aren’t passed because they deserve to be passed on their own merits,” she added.

But one of the Democrats who joined the Republican majority, Steve Thompson of Marietta, said he was voting for the bill because it’s good for public education, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The next step for the Senate is to join the House in passing H.B. 797, which would put into law the changes authorized by the constitutional amendment. It requires a simple majority.

K March 21, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Most welcome, Ashley. I hope you don't let anyone's knuckle-dragging get to you.
"The Real Deal" Education Advocate March 22, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Amen!!! HR 1162 is coming to the vote of the people!!! Thank you Senator Rogers and the legislators who decided to do their job and let the voters decide, not the nasty Special Interests who are masquerading as caring about kids when in reality all they care about is protecting their bureaucracy and stifling real educational progress. These nasty and corrupt Special Interests - The Georgia PTA, The GAE and PAGE (pseudo Teacher's Unions), The GA School Boards Assoc., and The GA Supt. Association are truly disengenous lobby organizations who could care less about children unless is aligns with their primary selfish concern - themselves, their power, their control over the system and the money. The Cherokee Citizens for Kids is a similarly disengenous organization comprised of a bunch of "angry teachers" and "angry teacher spouses" who espouse caring for all kids but then in every point they make on their website, all they can do is talk about global metrics as a system and because CCSD is above average then no kid should have any issues or need anything else. Like who died and left these 60's radicals king to decide what is best for our children? These people are evil power hungry Educational Monopolists who must be set in their place...the voters will speak and give them a dose of reality come November. Mike Chapman and Janet Read - you don't like it ? You can move! Ashely & Frank - 82% of Georgians favor school choice - get used to seeing that number on Nov. 6th !!!
"The Real Deal" Education Advocate March 22, 2012 at 03:48 AM
@Frank - give me a break. Don't pour water on my back and tell me it is raining. The opposition on this board is not funded by CCSD, of course. But to say the opposition is just concerned citizens and parents is a lie. The opposition on this board is fully comprised of Teachers/CCSD employees and their spouses. Just like the opposition that all of sudden showed up at school board meetings that was all of a sudden "concerned parents and citizens." NOT. Everyone wearing a black T-Shirt was either a teacher, a CCSD employee, or a CCSD Spouse. Not a single person who spoke against School Choice this past spring was a "concerned parent" without any formal and monetary ties to CCSD. So disrespectful. The lies continue, like a play right out of the Obama playbook. I suppose the next lie that will occur is that all of us School Choicers work for a for profit educational management company. Give me a break! Viva La HR 1162 !!!
"The Real Deal" Education Advocate March 22, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Are you serious? This guy from Augusta, where Education is HORRIBLE, is a hack. He is Dick Yarbrough - East. His wife is a public school teacher - GO FIGURE !!! He also uses NO CITATIONS TO THE POLL. A poll of who? 6 people at a sandwich shop near a school, 5 of whom are card carrying GAE or PAGE members??? At least my data is substantiated by research from a current, reputable organization polling real parents not "Angry Special Interests." You can go to The Center for An "Educated" Georgia's website and pick your study that confirms the majority of Georgians favor school choice. The polling data is there for all to see. Do you think the legislature would be that stupid to push this to go to the voters? They know they have the majority. What you also fail to note is that black voters are a strong majority in favor of Charter Schools...it gets back to the educational slavery realities, as well as the fact that the public school districts that sued the state to reverse the Charter Law used the Civil War era Racism-infused portion of the GA Constitution to justify it in the year 2011. Even the black community is divorcing themselves from their beloved Dem. Party on this one and smells the public educational bureaucracy rat big time. Huge win will occur in Nov., GA Voters will pass this in favor of more choice and Charter Schools..When it comes to their children, Parents want the most local control of all - THEIR HOUSEHOLD NOT THE BOE or AN ANGRY TEACHER SPECIAL INTEREST!!!
"The Real Deal" Education Advocate March 22, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Let's face it Ashley, you're just mad you're not getting a Starbucks Card with your teacher association dues your family pays to the GAE and PAGE. Actually, we are willing to share, so don't worry. Would you along with Mike Chapman and Janet Read like to meet all of us School Choicers at the Towne Lake Starbucks, so we can tell you about our School Choice story? Or did Mike move yet??? Cobb County?
"The Real Deal" Education Advocate March 22, 2012 at 12:41 PM
I think Ms. Johnston said it best.... http://cherokeetribune.com/bookmark/17923291-Sending-wrong-message-on-school-choice Also - Ashley - there seems to be major flaws in your Anti-State Charter argument. If the amendment does not touch ANY funding of local, state or federal dollars, why are you fighting against it??? The traditional system continues to operate as it operates. Now again, why are you fighting against Children and School Choice??? And if you are going to rip the CEG's grassroots marketing approach, you ought to put the stone down. When you can tell me why the school PTAs always have a class play right before the PTA Meeting (because that is the only way they can get people to come to one or listen to their babble), then we can talk about the Starbucks card. Grande White Chocolote Mocha for the PTA President, please :) .
Cheryl March 22, 2012 at 12:47 PM
I am not nor have I ever been a school teacher. I am a concerned parent and a realator. The two best things in my life...my child and my job. What is the number one question that clients ask? How are the schools? I have always been proud to say that they are some of the best in the nationa and can cite local, state and national findings to back up the claim. School choice is not bad but opening a school wtih local funds and not local oversight is BAD. I, too, predict a huge win in November as we vote OUT the bureaucracy rats that are pushing to make changes to things that aren't broken. By all means control your household and I will control mine...I don't want an angry, well funded, non-elected charter school special interest group controlling anything.
"The Real Deal" Education Advocate March 23, 2012 at 11:40 AM
You're a realtor? Hope you do a better job providing facts for your clients than you do educating yourself. Local dollars will not be taken per the new amendment - for like the 1,000th time! Read the Headline Correction!!! If you are a realtor, you should be cheering for Charter Schools. You can't tell me you would honestly tell a client that Canton, Hasty, Teasley, Cherokee High School and several others are schools you would recommend as "Great???" With a Charter School and other progressive options that should have already been put in place by now within CCSD, you would have no issues selling homes and making that statement with a straight face :). I agree about households too...I will take my educational money per child and use it where I want to, and you can take yours. Stop trying to tell me the money I fund only has to be used in the traditional educational bureaucracy. It is criminal.
"The Real Deal" Education Advocate March 23, 2012 at 11:48 AM
You make a comment like this, then support the actions of CCSD keeping Mike McGowan on the payroll for a year+ ??? He is still on the payroll and reportedly will still have his job or a similar job after 4 and counting DUIs. Who is footing this bill for this 'non-corrupt' decision? Is this decision supported by Cherokee Citizens for the Kids? How is this decision, helping the kids? Help them see "corruption" at its finest. The only bright idea is to create full school choice, give parents a voucher per each child, and end the nonsense and corruption called "traditional public schooling." The parents are and always will be the most local control.
hope March 23, 2012 at 06:39 PM
"Some" of the best in nation...maybe. Unlike you, I am in no way "proud" of my school zone...in fact...if I were selling my home I would use the option of CCA as a selling point, not my specific elementary, middle, or high school. Not everyone lives in a "great" zone within the Cherokee County district. Just sayin'.
Rodney Thrash March 24, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Would you be interested in becoming a Local Voices columnist, Mikael? If so, apply here: http://canton-ga.patch.com/blog/apply. You have to upload a picture of yourself and submit a short bio. Then, you can start blogging away. While newsrooms aggregate stories, we don't "repost" letters sent directly to the editor of another news outlet. Had we received the letter, we would have been happy to consider running it on Patch. Have a great weekend!
Cherokee Mom March 24, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Ashley, I am the one who was waiting on my daughter in drama rehearsal with nothing to do so since I have so many patch posts from this particual blog I thought it would be entertaining to read them. I no longer read these blogs for information or legitimate points of view because they are few and far between. You tend to be very condescending and rude to people that have a different viewpoint than yourself which makes you lose credibility after the first several blogs, as do others on this blog. I have actually seen Rodney immediately cut off comments on these blogs because 2 vocal people get out of hand. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out who those two are. It may be fun for you to banter, but it is not becoming of you. I think you are a smart woman, but these banters do not reflect that.
Barbara March 24, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Amen Mikael, you nailed it!
Cheryl March 24, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Ashley...Keep it up! I am very disappointed in the Republican party right now...it is a problem that they keep voting to make the government BIGGER!
"The Real Deal" Education Advocate March 24, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Mikael-THANK YOU FOR THE POSTING IN THE TRIBUNE ABOUT SCHOOL CHOICE BEING THE TRUE, "MOST LOCAL CONTROL." It is what I have been saying all along. Many on the anti-choice side keep using the false argument that the Republicans have not been acting like Republicans in failing to support the BOE as the "most local" of all control but the reality is that is an erroneous statement. The reality is our Republican Party is going the step beyond and putting this in the Parents hands. Additionally, I don't think you could have summarized the other side's approach towards School Choice any clearer.."Yet there are those like yourself that instead of looking at the facts, it is easier to latch on to a political issue and hold on to it like a pit bull even though it is not true." Couldn't have been a more accurate statement of the current reality of the Cherokee Citizens for Kids. The "Real Deal" regarding this whole situation is the fact that Republicans are being true to their core, are being common sensical about how to best use available dollars instead of holding on status quo failure, and are challenging the public to think about the best route to reform, given that throwing money at traditional public education solely, has proven to be a recipe for disaster...(con't below)...
"The Real Deal" Education Advocate March 24, 2012 at 07:24 PM
(con't) ...Unfortunately, it is people like Dr. P, the 250 Teachers that wore black to the Charter Vote last June, and activist bloggers like Ashley who create front organizations that are false marketing efforts solely designed to protect their special interests as teachers and teacher spouses (over parents and kids having choice in getting their needs met with THEIR OWN VERY DOLLARS)...that are standing the way of real progress and making this the nasty fight that it is. At the end of the day, it is not a surprise that there are those that will never be able to see the forest through the trees, but at the same time, we can't let them block the patrol through the forest to arrive at the mountaintop destination. Come November 6th, GA's will speak for themselves, and show where they stand on this issue, and NOBODY, INCLUDING A CORRUPT AND DISGRUNTLED BOE, AND AN ANGRY TEACHER GROUP, will be able to prevent that reality from happening. I look forward to the outcome of November 6th and seeing GA and Cherokeans vote for the brighter and "right choice" future for the kids on Nov. 6th. In the words of a famous president, "Bring it on!"
Frank Jones March 24, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Mikael...Every argument you make against Ashley, myself and others is weak and shows your incompetence. What you "know" as "facts" aren't necesarily facts, but merely opinions. "We all know" is not a fact, it's an opinion. "CCSD is top-heavy" is an opinion. You accuse Ashly, myself and others as latching "on to a political issue and hold on to it like a pit bull", but HELLO, so do you! We're advocating for the children of CCSD not a supposedly "broken system"...Check the FACTS, Cherokee County ranks high, charter schools are average to below average! Once again, you argue that Georgia is 46th, but that's a lousy argument using poor logic because we're arguing about Cherokee County!
Frank Jones March 24, 2012 at 09:48 PM
@Real...Your arrogance amazes me along with your irrational comments. You accuse Dr. P, teachers, and concerned parents of creating "front organizations" and providing "false marketing" to protect their "special interests", yet the only ones in this argument that ARE providing false marketing, creating front organizations, and trying to protect their special interests are the for-profit charter schools companies, their employees, zealots, and spoiled parents who don't want to work within the current system. Charter Schools USA is only interested in public school funds! They are seeking a guaranteed revenue stream to pay executive compensation for their management staff, profits for their owners and what do they offer in return - comparable or sub-par results? - and the notion that "choice is better".
"The Real Deal" Education Advocate March 25, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Choice is always better. If a for-profit solution is best, then it is best. If a non-profit solution is best, it is best. We need to free marketize public education and let competition proliferate. Competition will drive innovation, higher standards and performance, and with children and parents being the customer, satisfaction in education will be higher. We free marketize everything else in this country, save for education, and then when the results are the same as communism/socialism, we have some scratching their heads as to why. Then we have idiots like the Anti-choicers on this sight actually fight to preserve educational communism and socialism in Cherokee County. Wow !!! Go figure. Thankfully this will all be in the hands of the voters of which Dr. P cannot control. He can control the teachers and CCSD employees, but not Cherokee County as a whole. We will fight hard til Nov. and win on Nov. 6th for CHILDREN.
Frank Jones March 26, 2012 at 06:27 PM
@Real...Your "choice is always better" argument is flawed at its core. Choice isn't ALWAYS better and examples are all over! Here are a few: 1. There is competition and choice in television delivery (over the air, Comcast, and satellite). However, since deregulation, prices have risen dramatically far exceeding inflation and additional channels. Competition should have made it cheaper. In addition, you cannot even go to the provider websites and determine the total cost of service because they hide it from you via "taxes and fees", # of outlets, and promotional rates with undisclosed future rates. 2. Natural gas in Georgia has competition and yet, we pay more for the equivalent service than consumers in NC where there are two regulated monopolies. And better yet, in NC they don't have to deal with "locking in" their rates and signing contracts. Natural Gas competition in GA is NOT better. 3. Airline competition - airlines have been deregulated for years. Yes fair prices are lower (inflation adjusted) than pre-deregulation, however, most airlines don't make money and are high risk investments with low returns. Many including our local Delta receive corporate welfare (subsidies, tax discounts, and incentives) in order to survive. You want to "free marketize" everything including public education...well fine. To make everything a free market you'd have to... (cont)
Frank Jones March 26, 2012 at 06:39 PM
1. Abolish all school taxes and allow (make) all parents to pay for their children's education. There would be no subsidizing of education. And if you can't afford to send your child to school, the free market has spoken and your child can't go. 2. Not regulate schools by any means as the "free market" would ensure that all schools are run perfectly and in the best interest of the children. There would be no Enrons, WorldComs, Adelphias, ZZZBests or other financial improprieties. 3. Not offer any tax or economic incentives to any businesses to relocate to or develop in our state. After all, the "free market" would dictate where businesses decide to do business. 4. Allow all businesses to self-regulate and charge whatever they deemed appropriate for their goods and services. Over time, you'd see 1 to 3 operators in every industry stiffling all competition and buying all the politicians...But the "free market" would have spoken. Your "Free Market" argument is full of it. All you want is to raid public education and make a financial killing off of the public. You hide behind an alias and yet most likely work for the charter industry as either a consultant, lobbyist or an employee. You bash anyone who you think works for CCSD or supports CCSD. On November 6th, Cherokee County will speak with a resounding NO.
"The Real Deal" Education Advocate March 28, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Mikael, Well said !!! I would like to call to everyone's attention "the truth" or "Real Deal" about the BOE Redistricting. While Dr. P and Mike Chapman have been parading and putting on a "whining sideshow on wheels"...and making it seem like they represent the entire BOE and Cherokeans when they are clearly nothing more than a vocal minority, finally, Mike Geist, Kim Cochran, and Rob Usher have stepped forward and set the record straight on the situation. Please see Mr. Geist's genuine and accurate letter to the editor that fully speaks to the truth on this situation. http://www.ledgernews.com/opinion/1208-march-21-2012/4760-school-board-minority-speaks-out
"The Real Deal" Education Advocate March 29, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Read the Letter Ashley. Geist calls out everything clearly including the "Big Fat Fact" that when the polling was done 80% of respondents were School District employees. Surprise? Mr. Geist, Usher and Ms. Cochran clearly spell out the fact that the "voting" public was conveniently left out of the District's polling plan and "voter respect" was pratically non-existent. If you want to start throwing stones, it is people like Dr. P, Chapman, and you who live in the biggest glass house of all. The Voting Public has spoken to our Legislative Delegation and we are exercising Local Control to get rid of the corrupt status quo of Dr. P and BOE Members like Chapman and Read, and the phony CCSD Employee Front Organization called Cherokee Citizens for Kids. It should officially be renamed Cherokee Teacher and Employee Activist Group for Themselves. And come Nov. 6th, you're all out of here !!! You and those that believe in your cause are just a bunch of selfish, egotistical, worrisome employees who are power and control hungy and unfortunately see nothing wrong with denying the most local control of all - parents and children. Your comments about the State Commission are ridiculous. There is more than enough oversight and we elect those who appoint the State Commission, just like you want to elect board members to appoint a countywide chair. The same reasoning for the same law is ok with you at the local level but not at the State for Charters? You are the biggest hypocrite!
Frank Jones March 29, 2012 at 02:29 AM
@Mikael...you obviously agree with Mr. Hart's argument that outsourcing an entire school is no different than hiring vendors to perform services for the school system. But how wrong you are! When outsourcing specific functions such as designing or building a school or any other single function, the ultimate responsibility for the performance and quality of that performance rests with the locally elected BOE and locally hired Superintendent and administrative staff. They report to the local voters who have control. When you allow a politically appointed state board and then the managers of a for-profit entity, you surrender ALL authority and control. The citizens do not gain control! In theory, the state board could revoke the for-profit's funding yet, it's doubtful that would happen! Why? Because the for-profits will lobby, fundraise, and grease the palms of the state board and key legislators (Chip Rogers). Lastly, you and your charter/choice friends attempt to condemn the pro-CCSD citizens as "special interest groups", what rubbish! The charter industry, their owners and lobbyists are the only special interest group in the debate! They have well-funded organizations, political connections, political contributions, well-oiled media misinformation campaigns and pundits like Real Deal hiding behind aliases. "Choice" is a non-starter. There's always been choice...homeschool, private, and religious! Public Funding + Public Oversight = Better Public Education!
Frank Jones March 29, 2012 at 02:39 AM
@Real...get real! "Corrupt" Dr. P? "Corrupt" BOE members Chapmans/Reed? If they're corrupt, where are the arrest warrants? Your arguments are corrupt! You hide behind an alias, maybe you're hiding because you're corrupt! "Phony front organizations"? What about the corrupt manner in which Charter Schools USA set up a "non-profit front organization" to siphon money out of the state of Georgia. How about Red Apple Development, a front organization to obscure Charter Schools USA's owner's relationship with the real estate holding. Chart Schools USA is setting up phony, front organizations of which, I suspect you are a player. Until you come clean, everything you say is meaningless!
Frank Jones March 29, 2012 at 03:01 AM
@Ashley...Well said! But if I may add a few... 1. Governor Deal was about to be throw out of the US House for ethics violotions when he resigned. 2. Governor Deal had to provide multiple financial disclosure documents when running for Governor because they were fraudulent/grossly inaccurate. 3. Governor Deal was virtually bankrupt when he took office. 4. Governor Deal tried to use political influence for financial gain (i.e. his salvage business). 5. Chip Rogers and Tom Graves borrowed money and claimed ignorance when they couldn't repay the loan. They received debt forgiveness which industry experts say was highly unusual. Taxpayer's picked up the debt forgiveness. 6. Jack Murphy was sued by federal regulators for "Gross Negligence" and "Breach of Fiduciary Duties" for his involvement with Integrity Bank. This while he was Chairman of the bank committee. 7. Kathy Cox, former state school superintendent couldn't manage her money and had to file for bankruptcy leaving lenders/creditors in the lurch. 8. Tim Echols of the GA PSC, travels extensively (far more than his colleagues) at the public's expense. I could keep going, but I won't. Giving more power to these people is just downright insane.
"The Real Deal" Education Advocate March 29, 2012 at 11:04 AM
No one wants to tear down public education, we only want to make it better for ALL and do so without an agenda for ourselves or any specific group - unlike Dr. P, Chapman, Read, and the Cherokee Teachers and CCSD Employee Activist Group for Themselves. THE VOTERS WILL SPEAK IN NOVEMBER, STATEWIDE, AMEN !!! EVERYONE WILL SEE WHAT A TRUE, ROTTEN MINORITY EXISTS IN THE CCSD FOR SURE.
"The Real Deal" Education Advocate March 29, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Hardly Ashley...The Super Majority of people are those that respect the role of the parent and are those that feel education should be a family decision, and options that are available, should be most accessible to all without restriction. This majority includes many teachers who although they may work in a traditional public school, they have the proper sense of humility to know that not every child can thrive in that environment, and it is no one's fault at the core. Those like you and FJones, Dr. P, Chapman and Read who have such arrogance and an overall lack of humility in failing to accept that truth are people who put their arrogance and pride first above what is best for children, and have taken things to such a personal level because of the fear mongering that you cannot rationalize what is truly best. Take off your black teacher t-shirt for a moment, and put yourself in the role of a parent with a child who, for example, was not thriving in CCSD, for whatever reason. They move to a Charter with a different educational delivery method and within the year, they begin to thrive tremendously. Now how sensible, how caring do you think it is for a teacher of all people, to be fighting against this choice? To be vocally standing up at rallies facilitated by the PTA (who is supposed to be fighting for every child), and fighting against children like this having the opportunity to thrive? It is not sensible. It is SICKENING. TO EVERYONE'S STOMACH. IT NEEDS TO STOP.
Regina Gulick March 29, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Wow, Rodney this is a very heated issue! Thanks to Patch for providing a forum for all voices in Canton to have their say. Keep up the good work, buddy!
Frank Jones March 31, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Mikael...Call the BOE finance dept. You can visit them anytime and review the financial statements. Who do I call to get CCA's documents for the last year? Who do I call to get Charters USA records for the last 5 years? Oh, I forgot, they're a privately held out-of-state company and don't have to disclose anything. Nice way to avoid open record requests and conflicts of interest. Now if only CCSD could get away with it.


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