Cagle in support of charter amendment
by Mark Andrews
Aug 25, 2012 | 1567 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While State School Superintendent John Barge last week announced he is not in support of a charter school constitutional amendment, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle defended the option, which residents will have the opportunity to vote upon in November.

“I’m a huge proponent of local control, whether it’s my college and career academy initiative ... whether it’s my charter school system concept where entire systems convert to a charter status,” Cagle told The Daily Tribune News on Monday. “All of that is done at the local level with state approval, and to have a state authorizer, I think there is a place for that and the voters are going to have the opportunity to vote on that and I think it will pass because most people ultimately want to see innovation in education and they view these types of charter schools as instruments of change.”

Voters will be asked in November to vote on a constitutional amendment, which, if approved, would override a 2011 Georgia Supreme Court ruling and restore the state’s power to approve and fund public charter schools regardless of local school system’s objections.

Barge stated in a press release he does not support the ammendment as school Sybase are facing financial challenges, also citing the need for local control.

“Until all of our public school students are in school for a full 180-day school year, until essential services like student transportation and student support can return to effective levels, and until teachers regain jobs with full pay for a full school year, we should not redirect one more dollar away from Georgia’s local school districts — much less an additional $430 million in state funds, which is what it would cost to add seven new state charter schools per year over the next five years (the annual average of the Charter Commission that would be revived if the amendment passes),” Barge stated.

The Cartersville City School system operates as a charter system and Assistant Superintendent Ken Clouse has said the amendment will not affect the system’s status or operation.

In 2009, seven school districts filed suit against the Georgia Charter Schools commission — a state board who began approving and funding start-up schools. It began when the Gwinnett school district filed a complaint after the Georgia Department of Education gave part of the county’s state allocation funding to Ivy Preparatory Academy, a charter school approved by the state after being rejected by the local board.