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Message at charter school forum: reject proposed amendment

Posted: October 22, 2012 - 8:06pm  |  Updated: October 23, 2012 - 11:07pm
Columbia County school superintendent Charles Nagle speaks out against the question of charter schools on the November ballot.  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Columbia County school superintendent Charles Nagle speaks out against the question of charter schools on the November ballot.

Columbia County School Superintendent Charles Nagle is adamant that local officials should retain authority to authorize charter schools.

Nagle spoke out an Evans forum Monday against a proposed Georgia constitutional amendment that would allow a seven-person state committee to create charter schools without the authorization of local school boards.

Georgia voters will decide Nov. 6 on the amendment, proposed under House Resolution 1162.

If approved, the amendment would override a Georgia Supreme Court ruling last year that local elected school boards have sole authority to create or reject charter schools.

“Seven appointees by three politicians that you don’t even know are going to make the decision across the state for charter schools,” Nagle said. “It’s shameful.”

Currently if a local school board rejects the creation of a charter school, the decision can be appealed to the state board of education.

Though no charter schools exist in Columbia County, there are more than 200 such institutions in Georgia.

Advocates of the resolution say parents would be given more choice in their child’s education.

Opponents, like Nagle, argue that the amendment would lead to more public school budget cuts, larger classes, shortened school years and teacher furloughs.

Nagle said the resolution would shift authority from local school boards to the state government, creating a dual education system that would drain funds going to traditional public schools.

“You can’t tell me that someone should not be ashamed of themselves to sit in Atlanta, Ga., in the legislature ... and let school systems go broke and have education for 140 days in a school year,” he said, “and they’re going to spend the entire 40 days of their legislation time worrying about charter schools.”

Nagle said he also worried that for-profit companies would see charter schools as an investment opportunity, hurting county public schools by taking away funding.

Nagle was joined by school board Chairwoman Regina Buccafusco in speaking out against the resolution.

“I will answer emails (and phone calls) morning, noon, night, and all of our school board members will do that,” she said. “Do you think you’ll ever get a phone call back from them (state committee members)?”

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Comments (10)


Follow the money.

Follow the money.

Craig Spinks

GA Charter School Amendment

Let those who disagree with one another on the CSA issue please remember that they are opponents, not enemies.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

Kids First

A Question of Choice

Most parents know their children learn differently. I know several families who send one child to a traditional public school while the other attends private school. It's what we do to help our children. Even a great school system like Columbia Co has children who might do better in a different environment.

Example: A charter middle school opens that teaches math and science in single gender classrooms. One mother has seen her daughter, who used to love science, grow shy around boys. She won't participate and her grades, while ok, just aren't where her mother knows they should be. Meanwhile, another mom has noticed her daughter flourishing at the traditional school. She loves challenging the boys and working on projects with them. I suggest neither school is right or wrong. Having the charter school allows the first family to choose the better option for them.

The problem today is that most local boards of education are denying charter school petitions. Out of 180 school systems, about 10 have approved start up charter schools - not to be confused with conversion charters or charter systems.

The people opposed are fearful of competition. They shouldn't be. They should be proud that their district is serving both students in the example above but instead they see a dollar sign walking away by choice from the traditional school.

Vote yes....and by the way, these schools operate on less than $.70 to every dollar spent by the district. The non-profit governing board will not allow waste. Money is for the classroom.

Kids First

GA Public Television Debate

This was an excellent debate. If you're truly undecided, it would be good to watch.



Vote yes on charters

Some of the arguments against the amendment are silly, at best.

"Charter schools will lead to larger classes"--how, when students will be leaving the public schools and going to charter schools? And don't tell me charter schools will cause public schools to lose money. Schools are funded according to their enrollment, so naturally fewer students will mean fewer dollars.

"Seven appointees by three politicians that you don’t even know are going to make the decision across the state for charter schools"--how many people can actually say they know who their representative is on the State Board of Education?

"Shorter school years"--maybe that won't be so bad, seeing that students aren't learning anything during the current length of a school year.

I agree with the comment by Kids First--why not open a new avenue for education?

I hope one of the major effects of this amendment will be forcing local systems to cut spending on their central office. How many associate, assistant, etc. superintendents do we need?