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School board opposes charter amendment

Posted: February 14, 2012 - 10:02pm  |  Updated: February 15, 2012 - 9:39am

With a state constitutional amendment on charter schools stalled in the Georgia Legislature, Columbia County school board members Tuesday approved a resolution recommending its rejection.

House Resolution 1162, which would circumvent a Georgia Supreme Court ruling striking down charter schools not created by local school boards, failed by 10 votes to win a two-thirds majority of votes needed for passage last week.

State Rep. Ben Harbin of Evans was the only member of the county's House delegation and one of only a handful of Republicans to vote against it.

Trustee Mike Sleeper praised Harbin, saying "One of our legislators has a backbone and took a stand in favor of public education," calling the resolution "detrimental to public education."

The school board resolution, approved 4-0 with trustee Wayne Bridges absent, criticizes moves in recent years to "redirect" public school funding to private and charter schools.

The resolution asks that lawmakers first "adequately fund a first-class K-12 education across our state."

The resolution now will be sent to the governor and other state officials, said school Superintendent Charles Nagle.

If passed and later approved by voters, the constitutional amendment would allow the legislature to create charter schools even when opposed by local school boards, which the Supreme Court said violates local control of education under current law.

Education organizations throughout the state have expressed opposition to the proposal, fearing that it would take away money from public education, while giving it to appointed officials at charter schools without direct accountability to voters.

Charter and private school supporters, meanwhile, have argued that the legislation would give greater control to parents and prevent school boards from blocking charter schools from creation.

After the narrow failure of the legislation, it has been sent back to committee where its sponsors say they plan to bring it back to the house for reconsideration.

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Comments (5)


Unusual Move

It seems like an unusual move for the Columbia County BOE to pass a resolution against pending legislation. When did they start jumping into political battles this way? Choice of public or private school is one of the main tenets of conservativism.


Imagine that

"Trustee Mike Sleeper praised Harbin..."

Imagine that.

Craig Spinks


Are all trustees trustworthy?

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence


Dr. Spink..

Dr. Spinks you would make a great BOE member.


Did you get sent to the Principals office or something?

Why such distain for public education? I’m assuming you do not have children in Columbia County (or any other system.) Those who advocate for the abolishment of public education will never feel the impact of their actions should it succeed. Article VIII, Paragraph 1 of the Georgia Constitution provides “…public education for the citizens shall be a primary obligation of the State of Georgia. Public education for the citizens prior to the college or postsecondary level shall be free…”
I commend Representative Ben Harbin, Mike Sleeper, Dr. Nagle, and our leaders who have vision for making sure ALL children in Georgia have opportunity, not just the elite.

I look forward to seeing the name "Riverman1" on the next ballot.