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Voters will face three questions on ballots

Posted: October 14, 2012 - 12:01am

Even though the all-important general election day won’t be here for three more weeks, voters in Columbia County can head to the polls starting Monday.

There are no purely local races on the ballot. All of the non-partisan races were decided during the primary, as were the partisan races when no Democrats signed up to run. Several races from larger districts that include Columbia County are on the ballot, but it’s a given that most of the county’s voters will pick the Republican in those cases.

Some of the bigger decisions, then, will come at the end of the ballot, where two constitutional amendments and a local referendum await voters. Here are our suggestions:

• Amendment 1: NO.

This amendment, with its misleadingly sugar-coated preamble, is not about “school choice” or even charter schools. Instead, it is the next step toward destroying Georgia’s public schools and turning them over to private, for-profit companies channeling money to pet politicians.

If you think that’s an exaggeration, you haven’t studied the issue. The initial damage of this amendment is that it would create a separate, state-run, taxpayer-funded school system duplicating the efforts of local public schools.

We adamantly recommend voting NO on Amendment 1.

• Amendment 2: YES.

As a matter of principle, the state constitution shouldn’t be amended unless it’s an absolute necessity. Amendment 2 comes close to that standard.

This cleanup amendment allows state agencies to enter into multi-year leasing agreements. Currently, state agencies are limited to one-year leases, which in the private business world is nonsensical. The commonsense change is projected to save taxpayers $37-66 million during the next decade.

We recommend voting YES on Amendment 2.

• Special Referendum: NO

It struck many people as odd that Columbia County’s legislative delegation would approve a request from county commissioners for a referendum on term limits for commissioners without likewise including the school board.

But the school board didn’t ask for it; commissioners did. In a nutshell, while they are happy with the jobs they’re doing, they want to limit the time their successors, whoever they are, can stay in office.

That mechanism already exists: It’s called an election. It’s downright un-democratic for voters to covet the power to dictate how someone else votes, and that’s what term limits do. Even so, the referendum almost certainly will pass. If it does, lawmakers should even the score by applying similar reasoning to the school board – and to themselves.

We recommend voting NO on the Special Referendum.

To see a complete ballot for all races in Columbia County, go to www.columbiacountyga.gov and click on the “Elections” link. Study the ballot before voting – and by all means, go vote.

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Comments (7)

soapy_725

Vote and vote often

And remember the words, "Shall the Constitution be amended", always increases the size of government and the cost to taxpayers and diminishes personal freedom.

With the exceptions of the right of all to vote and be free, which was misstated in the original.

Spelunkerman

Hurray for the News Times!

I am glad the NewsTimes has conveyed their opposition to the Georgia amendment providing for state run Charter Schools. Facts are, local school district already have the capacity to engage charter schools within each respective district. I wonder if any of those "for profit" companies made donations to Nathan Deals campaign? Vote "NO" for the amendment on the Charter School Amendment, and vote any politician who supported it OUT.

Riverman1

Inveighed, Not Conveyed

The CCNT has inveighed against this new method of creating charter schools repeatedly. I believe any method, involving private for profit companies or not, should be on the table for citizens to consider. However, I do see where Georgia State Conference of the NAACP has come out strongly against the amendment. I'm voting yes to all three questions.

Spelunkerman

RM, now there's a surprise

RM, I'm surprised you are voting for the charter school amendment. This amendment allows the STATE to create charter schools. My understanding is local school systems already have the choice to create Charter Schools and engage these private companies, already providing the choice you speak of. Let's get the Federal and State governments out of educating our children, hold parents accountable, and challenge our students to do better.

Riverman1

Spelunkerman, what if the

Spelunkerman, what if the state takes over a system and wants to implement charter schools in opposition to the local BOE? We all know we have systems in the state that are deficient and have BOE's that are a major part of the problem.

Spelunkerman

The state can take over

Local districts can create local charter schools now. So this is where we are, we as Republicans (assuming you are), condemn the President for Obamacare because of the intrusion of Government into the Healthcare system, and we have a Republican Governor injecting himself into Education. Vote NO to the amendment giving the STATE the ability to create a secondary school system. Then in two years vote out the representatives who supported this Amendment. Remember, local school districts can already create Charter Schools, why do we want the state to be able too?

Little Lamb

Why?

Okay, I may be going out on a limb, but I'm coming from the notion that Spelunkerman is asking his question because he honestly is seeking an answer and not merely using debating techniques.

Splunkerman asked, “Remember, local school districts can already create Charter Schools, why do we want the state to be able too?” Here is an answer: many, many parents across the state have approached their local school board with charter school petitions, only to see them go down in flames, with school board trustees snarling and snarking at the parents. The parents made the petitions because their children are in schools not making adequate progress, and some in schools persistently dangerous. These parents merely want some chance to escape a bad situation, and their school board has let them down.

A state-sanctioned charter school might give some children a better chance of success. Of course, the charter school might not be any better. But at least it's a chance. Let them have it.

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