• Comment

Voters should oppose charter amendment

Posted: September 25, 2012 - 11:01pm


I agree with the editor of this paper that on Nov. 6 voters should say no to the constitutional amendment as outlined in HR 1162, pertaining to the creation of charter schools. I support providing parents more choice in making decisions about their children’s education. However, this bill takes us down the wrong path to achieving this goal.

HR 1162 will allow the creation of a state bureaucracy that will siphon away education dollars from our local school system. The new state managed charter schools will take control away from the local school district and will duplicate the work our local school system is providing. I agree with the editor that Columbia County has some of the best schools in the state, and we certainly do not need interference from another government bureaucracy.

Something else to think about when considering the expansion of public charter schools is the potential detrimental effect this may have on our private, sectarian and religious education institutions. I believe all three should be a part of school choice for parents.

Let’s assume for a moment that charter schools do actually perform better than the traditional public school system and their expansion continues in the future. Due to the economics involved, parents now choosing to place their children in private, sectarian or religious schools might be forced to place their children into public charter schools. As the attendance of those schools decline, their already high tuitions costs will likely grow just so they can survive. Eventually, the costs for the private, sectarian and religious schools will drive them out of the business of education.

Parents should be given a choice between traditional public, public charter, private, sectarian and religious education institutions. A voucher system is the only viable method to provide true school choice to parents. In the long run, HR 1162 will provide less choice for parents in making decisions about the education of the children. Say “no” to HR 1162 on Nov. 6.

Rick Hannon


  • Comment

Comments (5)


We don't need another government agency.

An the failing school system can't afford another agency with it s ever growing bureaucratic cancer.

Little Lamb


Again we hear the tired, discredited argument that charter schools siphon funds from the non-charter school system. Well, duh, charter schools also take students away from the non-charter school system. The money goes where the students go. There is no net loss to the school system.

Barry Paschal

Entirely valid argument

Actually, LL, you might have self-invalidated that argument, but it is entirely accurate. Funding travels with the students to the new school, but do you think the resulting charter school is nothing but an open field where those students stand around? What about the expense of operating the physical plant? What about the cost for duplicate administrations, lunchrooms, libraries and other infrastructure? Do you think those just magically appear without the funding being siphoned from the already strapped public school system?

I continue to be dumbfounded by people who call themselves conservative yet who can support a process that could fund a parallel and LESS-accountable bureaucracy that wrests control from locally elected school boards and turns it over to a state agency appointed by politicians.


Some counties HAVE to try

Some counties HAVE to try something different. The ability to go the charter school route should be left open to them. It doesn't mean it's tried in all counties and budget considerations have to be recognized. But why not have a mechanism in place if a county wants to try one? Simply refusing to let a county even consider a charter school doesn't seem wise. It reminds me of magnet schools in some ways and although I'm not in favor of those, some counties find ways to fund the magnet schools.

Barry Paschal

100+ charter schools approved

Counties have the authority to approve charter schools now. Only a handful of charter schools have been rejected across the state; the vast majority have been approved.

The problem with this amendment, which has its genesis in a snit from some of the Senate majority leaders over a school rejected in their home turf, is that it creates a new state bureaucracy, its leaders appointed by the governor, senate president and house speaker, that will govern the creation of charter schools. We already see up close how unaccountable such people can be - GRU, anyone? - and we would be transferring authority from local elected school board members to state-appointed bureaucrats.

That's probably been the hardest thing to communicate in this discussion. The opponents of the amendment are not opposed to charter schools. They're opposed to this amendment that creates a parallel bureaucracy with funding ultimately siphoned from local schools - and that creates a pipeline from private, for-profit companies to the pockets of the politicians pushing the amendment.