- Valdosta, Ga. - June 20, 2012 -
Should the state of Georgia have the power to approve charter schools even if a local school board disagrees? Georgia voters will be making that call in November.
Charter Schools run themselves completely independent of school boards. They're paid for by the state.
Now a group promoting the amendment has been doing some polling. They've found nearly 60% of voters say they'll support the amendment.
That poll was taken by the Georgia Charter Schools Association which is promoting the amendment to the state constitution. It found 57% of men and 58% of women polled would most likely vote for the referendum.
But opponents say the question is misleading. It uses the words "state or local approval" which may give the impression that local districts can't OK charter schools now.
"If the state can give good reasons to parents and everybody, there shouldn't be a problem with it. As long as they have good reasons behind it," said Tyler Reagan, Georgia Voter.
But Eyewitness News reporter Greg Gullberg talked to a member of the Lowndes County School Board who strongly believes these decisions are best left to local elected school board leaders who are much closer to the community than anyone in the Golden Dome.
"I strongly believe that local control and local school boards have the best opportunity to manage local schools," said Philip Poole, Lowndes Co. School Board member.
The amendment's backers say the state will use money from the general fund to pay for new charter schools it approves.
Groups from both sides are forming aggressive campaigns that will become increasingly visible as the November election draws closer.