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Debate: Rogers Backs State Charter Schools, Beach Against State Authority

While Brandon Beach said he supports local control of schools through local school boards, Chip Rogers backed restoration of the state charter commission and any parental control.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first of several stories from the state Senate District 21 candidates' debate sponsored by the North Fulton & Friends Tea Party, and held at the Crooked Creek HOA Clubhouse on July 10. Each will be accompanied by video with more complete remarks by the two men.

The Republican candidates for state Senate District 21 made it clear on where they stand on in Georgia. said he was for parental control in almost any form, while Brandon Beach doesn't want some state commission to make decisions on local schools.

"Not only do I support charter schools, I support educational freedom in every form," Rogers said.

"Now the question is very simple," he said. "Who makes the decision on what is best for your child? It's either the government, or the parent. I will side with the parent, not once, not twice, not 10 times, but every single time."

Beach more directly answered the question posed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jim Galloway, one of the moderators. The two Republicans were  asked if they supported .

"I'm not against charter schools. What I am against is the state running them," Beach said. "I want the local entities to run the charter schools. And I want the principals, the teachers and the local school districts to make that decision. We don't need to make it at the state level with this commission created at the state."

Beach agreed with Rogers that the parents are closer to their children than anybody, but they are also closer to a local school board member than they are to a bureaucrat in Atlanta.

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Jim Beam July 12, 2012 at 09:53 PM
"REAL CHOICE would be to have a combination of charters and regular public schools in the district, and all of them FULLY funded." This is a great idea, 4Ed. Too bad the current Board worked so hard last spring to undermine the current charter school, its parents, and their children, According to what I'm reading, the new charter did well on its first CRCT in the complete absence of ANY funding from CCSD. No busing, etc. Just dedicated parents who are making it work, rather than letting some Board dictate to them what their children learn. I think the APS Cheating scandal is clear evidence of what can happen when a local Board is in charge...
Clark July 12, 2012 at 11:00 PM
4Education - You are correct, but they aren't listening. I am 100% for charter schools and 100% behind the BOE on their decision to deny THIS PARTICULAR application. Trying to say that those who support the BOE are against all charter schools is the argument that they have decided upon and the one they think they win. The problem is they are wrong. One of the comments that was not included in this snippet was from Beach and sums it up pretty well. I'll paraphrase but in essence he suggested that if the Charter was for profit that would have to bear some of the risk. The application provided to the Cherokee BOE was weak in this regard as the main reason it was refused. It was a decisions of good financial stewardship, not a decision of pro / anti charter.
Jim Beam July 12, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Redistricting the School Board accomplishes exactly what you seek: Letting the people decide. Why should (ex.) 3 people from (ex.) Towne Lake dictate ed.options for folks in (ex.) Free Home? The redistricting gives the citizens a more direct line to the Board..and this is exactly what the Board fears: An End to their Cronyism. The old Board structure is akin to having 80 of our 100 US Senators come from Texas. that charter school was voted down by a single vote because some of the Board is afraid of competition and wants to protect its 500M$$$ pie. From the looks of its test scores, the charter school passed in spite of CCSD's efforts to close it and succeeded without a dime of CCSD money nor CCSD trans. But the Board will continue to fight against ALL Charters - just you watch. From a Patch CRCT testing article, 4 elem. schools failed CRCT testing even after CCSD spent a half-billion-$$$ in 2011. That was prior to the existence of the charter school. What's the excuse for those 4 failures? I'm glad those parents in those failed CCSD schools had a choice and it looks like many took the first opportunity to get the heck out! Ask yourself: If CCSD is so awesome, why do so many parents want to go to this charter school? Again - note that i did say I liked your idea! I think pub and charter can co-exist. The current board & Beach disagrees with you.
Clark July 12, 2012 at 11:32 PM
You are wrong, Beach is not against charter schools.
Jim Beam July 13, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Speaking of 'wrong', you apparently missed the GA Supreme Court decision that took away the state's ability to fund charter schools. If that was true, why would SB 1162 even need to exist? And really not sure how you can say I don't care about kids in public schools since my son is IN one! I don't want anyone to fail but it's obvious the current system you blindly worship and endorse IS failing many students else why would so many Cherokee parents sign up for the charter lotto last year (some 3000 did)? It's sad that you worship at the altar of govt waste and you seem to think it's fine and dandy for our bloated Dr. P to hire a chauffeur while he furloughs teachers at the same time. Beach is a big gov't loving Tax & Spending TSPLOST advocate. He is forced to run as a Republican only because liberals like him LOSE in Cherokee County. Beach clearly said in the debates he doesn't support the charter school. Of course, he also said he was "against TSPLOST...but I voted for it anyway!!"...so maybe you're right - LOL!! Beach is a hypocrite and a flip-flopper and hopefully Sen. Rogers wipes the floor with him. You Democrats need to be braver and just run as liberal Democrats. I dislike Obama but at least he's brave enough to admit what he is - a tax&spend liberal who hates individual liberty and worships the power of gov't. Just like Beach, Cromer, and Read!
Jim Beam July 13, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Speaking of Democrats, isn't one of your people running for school board a big Planned Parenthood advocate? I don't know anyone running for school board, much less well enough to have peeked over their shoulder at who they voted for in 2008! I do know I won't be voting for Ms. Planned Parenthood In Schools though. That sort of liberalism has no place in Cherokee County. But that's to be expected from some Ohio transplant. What's next - teacher unions? Chip doesn't need to find more $$ for education. A half billion $$ is enough. We need to make it work rather than these infinite spending increases your side of the aisle favors. Look around - we're in a recession and the taxpayer is tapped out! Stop asking for more and make the half-billion we have now WORK! More spending, more taxes. That's the goal of Beach and his infernal "I was against it before I voted for it" TSPLOST. The guy will likely pocket millions from his GADOT position if this horrible tax increase passes. last I checked, GA roads still stink, so he's not very good at that job either.
Jim Beam July 13, 2012 at 02:17 AM
If it walks and talks like a Big gov't Spending duck, it's a liberal tax & spender, no matter how much you protest. I am not this Knowles person you believe but please continue your delusion. My calculator shows that a half Billion $$$ is more than enough to run CCSD. From the debate video, Marlow wasn't even asked the Abortion question. I wonder why Cromer was? Why was that question directed at Cromer only? Video doesn't lie - see for yourself. There IS nothing wrong with profit. Do you disagree with Sen. Rogers on that? And why are infinite spending and tax increases a good idea? Have you looked at Greece lately? That's where we're headed with this ideology. You seem to welcome that with open arms.
Frank Jones July 13, 2012 at 02:51 AM
@Steely...Republicans label Democrats as tax and spenders. However, if you ever researched a thing, you'd realize that Republicans are equally bad or even worse when it comes to tax and spend. In fact, Republicans love to spend but hate to tax. As such, we find ourselves with a large deficit and huge debt. It's a fact that taxes are at the lowest effective level in 30 years, and yet, Republicans want to cut taxes even more. It's a fact that the wealthy pay an effective tax rate at or below that of working stiffs, and yet, Republicans want to eliminate capital gains & dividend taxes which would allow many of the richest to pay $0 in income taxes. Republicans are actually wanting the richest Americans to be free-loaders just like the poor...How ironic! Your "calculator shows that a half billion" (actually $2/5 bilion) is more than enough for running a 38,500 student school system. If you know the solution to cost reduction, please present to us a completed budget and identify the specific items that can be reduced. Keep in mind that the budget must keep the equivalent level of service to the students. I'm sure your budget will be helpful for all of us "wasteful big spenders" and the status quo school board.
Jim Beam July 13, 2012 at 04:20 AM
4Ed: I will mention the charter school budget when it becomes part of the CCSD annual budget. Until then, it's irrelevant to the CCSD budget, which allocates $0 to the charter school. Have you personally called the charter school and asked for this info? I've no dogs in that hunt. My kid's too old and I know of no families who go there. I just support the option it represents.
Jim Beam July 13, 2012 at 04:39 AM
I don't see where I've said anything about cutting funding. I've only insisted that we make a half Billion $$ work. One candidate thinks we can. The other is quoted as saying "We Can't". I'd happily kill Frank's ObamaCare and Bush's Medicare plan B and throw those $$ into education. But that's not going to happen thanks to lobbyists on both sides of the aisle. So where should these future millions come from? Even with the historically low Bush tax rates, the American taxpayer is hurting right now. But you seem to think more taxation is the answer. When is it enough? The companies that supply public education with its supplies are absolutely making a profit. Buses aren't running off free gas and kids aren't reading books that were printed for free either. And I'm fine with that. From the debates I watched, Cromer did nothing but parrot the current Board's position on everything. She had no new ideas whatsoever and came across as having a very defeatist, negative attitude. Her attempt at personal attacks near the end was VERY revealing, as it's usually the sign of a lost debate. Thank God she and her ilk weren't around in 1776. They would've been upset at our Founding Fathers for being angry with the status quo. I can see her now, complaining to one of King George III's troops: "I saw that Thomas Jefferson fellow writing some sort of angry Declaration. The nerve of those people!! "
Jim Beam July 13, 2012 at 04:45 AM
4Ed, you seem obsessed with the CCA budget. Have you called them or visited and asked for the info? And why does it matter to you since that school isn't funded a dime by CCSD? Contrary to what P has said, that school didn't take a dime away from CCSD in 2011-12 and won't next year either. You can't blame the charter school for the failings of the board to stretch a half Billion $$$ farther than they have. Pay me $400,000/year, buy me a brand-new SUV, give me a 3-restaurant-meals/day per diem and my own personal chauffeur and I'll fix your budget. good nite.
Jim Beam July 13, 2012 at 05:48 AM
4Ed, I got that half-Billion-$$$ # from here: http://canton-ga.patch.com/articles/boe-tables-budget-vote "The $518.74 million budget for 2012-2013 is approximately $9 million less than the school system’s budget for 2011-2012." Sorry but a mere 1.7% spending cut is hardly a "severe austerity cut". As for the rest...I'm not running for office, sorry. Both candidates were in agreement with you on giving our money away, as I recall. Marlow specifically stated she'd look everywhere but the teachers for any $$. Cromer specifically said she 'can't' do anything to prevent teacher furloughs. An inability to get much of anything done was a fairly consistent theme of Cromer's platform in those debates now that I think about it.
Frank Jones July 13, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Steely, in today's modern information age and public record laws, we shouldn't have to call the school...a public school...to obtain their financial records. Those records should be available in similar fashion to CCSD. If you review the CSUSA website, there is zero financial information. None, nada, zip! The only publicly available data is from their IRS Form 990 which is not at all timely. The latest available data (as of last night) was for the 2009-2010 school year. That data is 2 years old! The 2010-2011 should be available in the next few months, but then we'll be in other school year.
Holly J July 13, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Chip is against the TSPLOST, too, but voted to put it on the ballot. Frankly, I appreciate the opportunity to vote on the issue as opposed to having it decided for us under the Gold Dome. Sounds like both Rogers and Beach are following GOP thinking on this one- local control. Too bad Chip leaves that thinking behind on other issues.
Holly J July 13, 2012 at 02:06 PM
What does support of Planned Parenthood have to do with a school board race??? That is nothing more than another GOP litmus test for blind party loyalty.
Reading & Listening July 13, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Wow, I missed a party last night! Steely, I just wanted to throw this in: Marlow did not say she'd look everywhere but the teachers. I attended the debate and remember the question posed to the candidates. Ms. Cromer mentioned that furloughs were the best option (versus layoffs) as they can change from year to year. Ms. Marlow stated that teachers need to be in the classrooms. I agree. However, there was NO mention of 'looking everywhere but the teachers for $$.' There is a simple solution to keeping teachers in the classroom year-round: salary cuts across the board. I believe this was the original question, and neither candidate confirmed - nor denied - that salary cuts are an option. However, Ms. Cromer was clear that the preferred, and better alternative, were furloughs. Ms. Marlow did not. Which leads me to believe... salary cuts could certainly be 'the new black' if certain BOE candidates are elected.
Frank Jones July 13, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Steely, you keep using different numbers and I've pointed you to the correct numbers many times. But here it is again: http://portal.cherokee.k12.ga.us/departments/pr/OGP/BUDGET%20AND%20FINANCIAL%20DOCUMENTS/Executive%20Summary%20-%20Tentative%20Budget%202012-13.pdf (See page 12). When posting a comment and making your case, it is better to go to the source document whenever possible instead of relying upon an article written by someone else. That way you'll have a better understanding of what the facts are. In this case, the article stated that the budget is $518.74 million. While that is technically correct in that CCSD expects to have that much in total funds to manage during the year, the budgeted expenses are only $422.9 million. FWIW, the school system is required by law to keep reserves and that is why they can't and aren't spending the full $518 million. Further, when you look at just the General Fund, the cut from 2011-2012 to 2012-2013 school years is 4.2% ($303.1 m vs $290.4 m) and we're expecting even more students in 2012-2013 compared to the prior year. The increase in students actually makes the cut greater.
Jim Beam July 13, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Frank, you need to take your complaint up with Rodney Thrash of the Patch. According to you, his article that I linked is factually incorrect. Is that what you are saying? And if the budget expects $518M...why can't it make $423M work?! I'm using your numbers, Frank. If the budgeted expenses are $423M but the CCSD expects almost $100M more to come in...why the need to furlough teachers? And why again did we need another ADMIN building when we're currently furloughing teachers? Why does the Board value a new ADMIN building (via the recently passed ESPLOST) over not furloughing teachers? It's that sort of extravagant spending that must cease. When you & I are in fiscal holes, we stop digging. Dr. P and the current Board instead get another shovel, pass another SPLOST and build another UNNEEDED ADMIN BUILDING. Why not instead pass a "Teacher-SPLOST" or something to that effect? Why the need for another ADMIN Building? What's wrong with the current one? Not enough interior decorators on the payroll? Sorry teachers- Dr. P needs new wallpaper. Enjoy your furlough!
Ed July 13, 2012 at 02:48 PM
4Education - Fulton Science Academy was a local district approved Charter School...not a state commissioned school. The District and the State both rejected Fulton Science Academy when it came time to renew it's charter. So, your use of it as an example of placing blame soley on the State is inaccurate.
Holly J July 13, 2012 at 02:54 PM
ESPLOST funds cannot be used for salaries- only capital outlay and technology. It's not like the BOE took money away from teachers, unlike the General Assembly. And, the Admin buildings in Canton are have been around since God was a boy. They are hardly posh palaces even now with the renovations.

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