Second bill opens public school clubs, teams to outside students

Per my earlier blog on this issue, Senate Bill 55 is now posted on the state web site. From my reading of the bill, it opens  public school extracurricular activities to any public students in the district. So, students attending magnets or charters outside the district or zone can join clubs or teams offered at their home school.

In that sense, it seems to duplicate Senate Bill 34, which allows nonenrolled students in charter or virtual school to participate in extracurricular programs at their local school. The only difference is that SB 34 uses “shall” while SB 55 uses “may.”

SB 34 states: Public school shall allow any nonenrolled student to participate in any extracurricular activity offered or conducted by such public school outside of regular school hours in the same manner as any student currently enrolled at such public school.

But when I called Senate sponsor Renee Unterman’s office for clarification of what seems duplicate intent to me, I was told the bill applies to “any student residing that district.” I asked if that meant homeschooled or private school students, and Unterman’s aide said that it did. That doesn’t sound right to me based on the language of the bill, so I asked the aide to doublecheck and get back to me. When I get the clarification, I will post.

Regardless, this bill and SB 34 raise a slew of questions on liability, responsibility and accountability.

Are the four Senate sponsors of this bill ignoring the fact that many of these after-school activities do not run on tax dollars but on the willingness of teacher and parent volunteers to donate their own time and money to help their students?

Many posters on the first blog on this bill said that as teacher sponsors of clubs they’d be unwilling to take on students from outside their classrooms as they see the clubs as ways of enhancing their bond with their students. Is it fair to ask teachers — most of whom are not paid for their after-school clubs  — to donate their time to kids outside of the school?

I have read all the posts on the first blog on this issue, and understand the desire of homeschooling and private school parents to take advantage of the clubs and activities at their local public schools. I remain concerned about the burden on the public schools to sort out this law, if it is passed.

The bill does put some discretion in the hands of the principals to set rules, but only if those principals are in accord with regulations yet to be established by the state Board of Education. It also includes language that the students seeking to join after-school clubs or teams at their local public schools be in good standing at their own schools. (The bill does not make clear whose task it is to check on the student’s standing and keep up with it.)

The Senate sponsors are Unterman, David Shafer, Chip Rogers and Don Balfour.

I have to ask those senators behind this bill: Given the deep cuts to public education funding, given your own constituents’ concerns over how their schools can continue to do more with less, is it a good idea to ask them to take on this new responsibility?

The bill states:

Nonenrolled public school student means a public school student in grades kindergarten through 12 who resides within the attendance zone of a school but who is not enrolled in such school.

A public school may allow any nonenrolled public school student to participate in any extracurricular activity offered or conducted by such public school in the same manner as any student currently enrolled at such public school. A nonenrolled public school student desiring to participate in an extracurricular activity shall register with the principal of the public school, or his or her designee, such intent to participate in extracurricular activities of the public school in accordance with rules and regulations established by the State Board of Education.

The final approval for such participation shall reside in the discretion of the principal in accordance with local board policies, or in accordance with State Board of Education or Georgia Charter Schools Commission policies, for a state chartered special school or a commission charter school, respectively.

In order to be eligible to participate in an extracurricular activity pursuant to this Code 45 section, a nonenrolled public school student shall maintain at his or her school of  attendance compliance with all academic and nonacademic rules and requirements governing participation in such extracurricular activity at the public school.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

115 comments Add your comment

Inman Park Boy

February 9th, 2011
12:10 pm

I suppose the legal question would be, whether a parent, who has chosen to home-school, charter school, or privately school their child (all of which are legal) be denied the various privileges currently available only to public school enrollment, including any and all extracurricular activities? Okay all you Constitutional lawyers, weigh in.

Dunwoody Mom

February 9th, 2011
12:14 pm

So, can public school students take advantage of private schools teams and clubs? So, is it right that a private school student can take the place of a student currently enrolled at the public school?

Sounds like the recent Valedictorian issue in Cherokee.


February 9th, 2011
12:16 pm

I hope every public school teacher in Chip Rogers’ district realizes that he is doing everything possible to undermine public education, as evidenced by this latest bill. People of Cherokee county, wake up and quit drinking the Kool Aid and just marking an “x” by someone because they have an “R” next to their name in the voting booth!


February 9th, 2011
12:19 pm

This is the flip side of vouchers–the argument will be made (just wait) that if a kid’s parents are to be legally denied the public school services paid for by their taxes then they should get those taxes back in the form of a voucher to fund the educational option they are pursuing.

Top School

February 9th, 2011
12:32 pm

You stated “The bill does put some discretion in the hands of the principals to set rules, but only if those principals are in accord with regulations yet to be established by the state Board of Education.”

Discretion in the “wrong hands” leaves room for unethical corruption. I’ve already observed “FAVORS” for out of district addresses. Who keeps up with the ethical or unethical acts of the principal?

Heaven forbid if the teacher was to file a grievance to explain the discretion of the Principal’s decision to give out these FAVORS.

Still waiting to see if the unethical teachers at JACKSON ELEMENTARY will step forward for the GBI investigation OR risk going to prison.
Of course there are no erasures at JACKSON. These teachers sit in front of the overhead and review the “DIFFICULT” questions and answers with their students before the morning announcements behind closed doors before the proctor gets to the room. At the end of the day…this particular teacher reviews the test answers at the end of the school day prior to the next day’s testing. These children are smart…reviewing some of the questions and answers guarantees those NORTHSIDE SCORES STAY . Loyal to the Reich Regime…teachers are willing to risk anything to keep their jobs.


February 9th, 2011
12:37 pm

Wow, Maureen – where is this type of investigative reporting when it comes to the corrupt School Board and DCSS? How about getting your hands on the 2005 E&Y Personnel Audit that has magically disappeared and calculating how much taxpayer money is literally flushed down the drain when it is put into the hands of illiterate people making 6-figure salaries.

Based upon what we spend per student compared to the rest of the country, each child should have access to these types of programs that should be funded and more. Teachers should not be “volunteering” their time, but the schools can help build the community by including those children who are homeschooled and in private schools because their parents are still paying the property taxes funding the schools yet not reaping any return (can’t say BENEFIT in DeKalb CSS). Reward the parents who give a damn about their children’s education and decide to keep them out of the corrupt and poorly managed APS and DCSS. They will take their money and make community clubs for the kids.

The bills are a sign that metro Atlantans are paying more and more in taxes, the lion’s share still goes to the school system and the parents are sick of it. More money and our scores go down yet adminstrators have earned on average 20% more during the recession as teachers got pay reductions (you know, those furloughs)? Where is that article?

One of the things that private schools cannot provide to their students are the vast array of organizations that the public system has because of its size. The School System should be thanking the taxpayers for only asking for this if they are not “educating” the students.

I am saddened that the AJC are not screaming from the rooftops as to how broken the APS and DCSS and that in grand ol’ Southern fashion we are going to pass on a “Bless Their Hearts” because they are “trying” as we watch taxpayer dollars wasted and stolen and our children not given access to viable public school systems.

Top School

February 9th, 2011
12:39 pm

Where is the testing conducted for home schooled students? These students don’t have the opportunities that the public school provides.
Ask the students “how it works” at JACKSON…they are not dumb…They can tell you which questions were reviewed on the overhead during testing week.

Top School

February 9th, 2011
12:48 pm

I guess the PUBLIC SCHOOL PRINCIPAL could charge the PRIVATE school children a fee for entrance to the school’s playground. Donations to the Principal’s fund could allow you other favors, too.
The APS system does not have a proven record of ethical standards to show how this could possibly work without corruption. In the wrong hands…this is another money, making under the table favor for those willing to play the PRINCIPAL’S game.

Hey Teacher

February 9th, 2011
12:55 pm

Two words for you: logistical nightmare. I love how lawmakers come up with these crazy ideas and then expect the little people to figure out how to make it work. Club sponsors do not have the time to add this kind of extra responsibility to their day working with kids who aren’t even in the building.

Concerned Teacher

February 9th, 2011
12:58 pm

The public school teachers have too many mandates, bosses, obligations, and duties as it is. If you belong to the YMCA, do you automatically gain entrance to the local country club? I don’t think so. When parents make choices, they should have to honor their own decisions. The Bill of Rights does not mean everybody gets to do everything they want because that would be “fair” for them. I, too, want the best for all students in Georgia, but we have to have structures and guidelines in place for it to work.I should not be held responsible for students who have no obligations to my school and it’s authority. My own children went to a private school because we chose that for them. We paid above and beyond and extra for our decision. We never expected the public schools to do anything for our children because we chose a different education for them. Public schools are not in their totality an inalienable right; they are a privilege!


February 9th, 2011
12:59 pm

Some people are viewing this in terms of what they think it might “take away” from the public school students and teachers. Why not view it in terms of what it will “add”? Regarding after school activities being run by parent and teacher volunteers, why wouldn’t you assume that the parents of the home-schoolers and private school students would also be contributing volunteers? They typically have very involved parents and would bring volunteers to the table, in addition to money, with fund-raising efforts.

The idea that clubs need to be only kids enrolled in a specific school or from certain classes, etc., keeps your kids’ lives quite segregated from the community as a whole. I imagine that teachers and parents would not complain if this “outside” student was a star athlete that helped their team win championships. Just because a law such as this is passed, it does not mean that there will be a huge influx of kids in any one particular club or program, as there are also other community activities at recreation departments and private schools. It just adds another option that these families have helped fund through their taxes. So, if a Math club, for example, has 15 kids currently, and with this law has 3 extra, what is the big deal?

Some comments are that these clubs and programs are supported by volunteers through their own fund-raising and not from taxpayer or school funds. In many cases, it is a mixture with fund-raising covering some things and taxpayer funds covering indirect costs. Taxpayer support covers at least part of the program (certainly in terms of the provision of facilities, equipment, meeting space, and other indirect expenses, such as janitorial services, insurance, etc.).


February 9th, 2011
1:12 pm

Since the legislature seems by all accounts to be driving the bus, metaphorically speaking, to charter schools/vouchers anyway, what difference will it make in five years? For now, if you choose to remove your child from the public school setting, you get what you get. If your private school only offers soccer and you want football, you shouldn’t have chosen that school. If you want a club, volunteer to start and maintain it.

Warrior Woman

February 9th, 2011
1:21 pm

HStchr said: “For now, if you choose to remove your child from the public school setting, you get what you get. If your private school only offers soccer and you want football, you shouldn’t have chosen that school. If you want a club, volunteer to start and maintain it.”


Warrior Woman

February 9th, 2011
1:23 pm

@Ann – Taxpayer cost does not cover equipment, janitorial services, or insurance. We pay a fee for the use of facilities. Let the outsiders that want a similar program either join our school or start their own.

Atlanta Mom

February 9th, 2011
1:31 pm

As has been previously noted in many blogs, public schools must take all comers. For some of those students, the extracurriculars may be the only thing that keeps them movitivated. Some clubs can take an extra 3, and it matters not. But, what happens when there is a team competition for which the school can only send 10 participants? Who gets priority?

Oh Well

February 9th, 2011
1:33 pm

@Warrior Woman/HStchr…I understand the argument…

but I am somewhat interested in this…my son attends a private school (because middle school in my area is VERY shaky)…he worked hard to get good grades and was very involved in extra-curriculars in public school.

granted, he may have left the building…but he is still part of the community. he maintains his friends, etc. I would gladly pay a fee so that he continue his involvement/membership as a junior Beta Club, etc.

Most Children Left Behind

February 9th, 2011
1:34 pm

I think that any legislator in favor of this bill should be required to spend a day with a teacher who is teaching 6 classes, then staying after school on their own time, to sponsor a club with no extra pay. If you really want them to understand the implications of their proposals, how about requiring that their children ATTEND public school in order to vote on issues affecting public schools? too many legislators love to espouse how the schools should be run, and place additional burdens on teachers, while enrolling their own children in private schools. They should have to eat what they cook, so to speak.

Atlanta Mom

February 9th, 2011
1:34 pm

Anyone on this blog, who is interested in maintaining public education, be on watch. School vouchers, are likely to be voted on this session, in the guise of charter schools and the “trigger option”

Oh Well

February 9th, 2011
1:35 pm

but then, after reading the bill as proposed…my kid wouldn’t be able to participate…


February 9th, 2011
1:39 pm

It is not YOUR school – it is a PUBLIC school that is paid for by local, state, and federal tax dollars. You may be employed by the school system or your child may attend the school, but it does not belong solely to you to decide who gets to use the facilities. I won’t even bother debating this again because it was covered in the previous blog.

Times have changed and trying to stay the same just makes the school system obsolete. I think it is a big mistake to just keep holding on to an old model that doesn’t work and then to threaten and bully people who make other choices.

Oh, and leave the poor Valedictorian of that school alone. She did NOTHING wrong. I know you want to take her award away from her and give it to the more popular student, but making her a villain doesn’t help the cause.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Wendy Rawley and Samantha Davis, Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: Second bill opens public school clubs, teams to outside students [...]

Private School parent

February 9th, 2011
1:55 pm

I live in the APS school district, and we have already been able to do this, so evidently some school districts already have some sort of policy. My private school kid attended an APS summer program years ago. There was a fee paid, but I think everyone had to pay it. The program was an APS program housed at an APS school and staffed with APS teachers. I have also been able to participate in APS parent workshops.

I don’t see the problem. My tax dollars are still going to APS. If they get my money but don’t have to educate my kids, it seems to me they are still coming out ahead. It would behoove local public schools to have genial and mutually appreciative relationships with private school parents. We still live in a neighborhood that supports the local schools by supporting their events. That support comes from people in the neighborhoods, whether they have children in public schools or not.


February 9th, 2011
2:00 pm

I think public schools will be helped by active involved parents helpe with extracurricular activities. These parents might also see some of the good things public schools are doing. I believe it will be a win win fo everyone. These children will not be rule breakers etc.

Teacher and coach

February 9th, 2011
2:03 pm

I find it ridiculous that teachers would be so against this. As a coach, it’d be awesome to get a great player to help my team. As a former club sponsor, it’d be awesome to get kids in your club that care enough about it to pursue it when they don’t even attend the school. My bet would be that they would be more involved than most of the other club members and actually make the club they participate in better. It’s never really the number of kids that makes sponsoring hard, it’s just the quality.

Now, I don’t know exactly how this works, but don’t these kids’ parents pay taxes that support the school? If they choose to pay extra money to attend other schools, that’s their decision. But if they pay the same amount to the school system in taxes, why don’t they have equal claim to what it offers?

Stop whining about everything, teachers, and just be happy you still have a job. I am.

Mom to public schoolers

February 9th, 2011
2:04 pm

Georgia wouldn’t be the first state to do this. Why not investigate how it’s worked out in the other states that have similar laws, e.g., Pennsylvania.

Whence this implication that non-public school parents want to free ride? *Of course* if there is fund-raising or parent volunteering or whatever, the responsibilities should be taken on by all, not just the public school students’ parents. But who said they wouldn’t be? I didn’t see *one single person* in the prior blog post saying, “My homeschooled kids ought to be able to take extracurricular activities at the public school and our family shouldn’t have to volunteer or raise funds as the public school families do.” Not one person. If anything, as several posters have said, it’s likely that non-public school parents who go to the trouble to investigate and get their kids into public school activities are likely to contribute, on average, more than the typical parent, not less.

Those are the arguments about fairness, and about integration of kids with the community.

As far as actual cost to the school district (”Given the deep cuts to public education funding, given your own constituents’ concerns over how their schools can continue to do more with less, is it a good idea to ask them to take on this new responsibility?”), I don’t think you can necessarily predict that. Does the government *want* all those kids back in public school? Does it *want* to discourage parents who might otherwise be inclined to homeschool or private school their kids from doing that? What would happen if all kids who are currently in private schools or homeschooled were suddenly dumped back into the public schools? There wouldn’t be any more tax money to pay for those kids; there would just be the same pie with more kids sharing it. OTOH, if you allow kids to do extracurricular activities, it might encourage some people who are on the fence about homeschooling or private school to make the switch away from public schools, again with public schools keeping the same pot of money with fewer kids to educate.

Now one might say that public schools aren’t all about the money; a big factor in how they do is based on based on parental support, and parents who decide to homeschool or private school their kids are siphoning that energy off. Possibly quite true, but allowing those parents and kids to partially integrate back into the schools for extracurricular activities reverses that trend to some degree.

It seems as though there’s a resentment against parents who make a decision that a different form of education is better for their kids, a desire to punish them for that. “When parents make choices, they should have to honor their own decisions.” It seems like a kindergartener saying to a another child, “if I can’t be your only friend, then you can’t be my friend at all!” We don’t ban homeschooled children from using the public library.

So, yeah: “if a kid’s parents are to be legally denied the public school services paid for by their taxes, then they should get those taxes back in the form of a voucher to fund” the services they’re barred from. Absolutely. But better yet: don’t deny them those services in the first place



February 9th, 2011
2:05 pm

Perhaps the virtual, charter, private, and homeschooled children interested could be banded together into one team/club, led by their “teachers” who volunteer to do so?


February 9th, 2011
2:06 pm

“VCPH Fulton football team faces off tonight with the VCPH Dekalb school in a test for the championship of the VCPH league.”

Jackie T.

February 9th, 2011
2:09 pm

So, does this mean Student X attending HS A canplay for the football team at HS B within the same district?

Maybe this bill will encourage some schools to just abandon all extracurricular activities and let teachers focus on teaching their classes.


February 9th, 2011
2:11 pm

Wouldn’t this also benefit public school students, who want to participate in a program at another school, if it is not available in the school they attend?

Warrior Woman

February 9th, 2011
2:12 pm

@Oh Well – I understand your interest. When my children were in private school, we paid dearly to keep extracurriculars available to them through private clubs, parks and recreation, etc. We also worked with the school to add clubs and team where there was interest, so I can testify that it is a HUGE pain to get new clubs and sports off the ground.

However, not all activities have unlimited enrollment capabilities. If a team can only have 20 student-athletes, is it fair to have students from outside the school take any of those spots? If a club can only send 10 kids to a competition or activity, is it fair to have even more competition for those slots? What about scholarships? If a club offers a scholarship to it’s top student, should that be available to someone that doesn’t attend the school in question? Why should existing structures at schools be expected to absorb children that aren’t students at those schools instead of expecting those children and their parents to establish suitable programs where they attend?

@Private School Parent – Summer programs are different. They are open to all that pay the fee, regardless of normal attendance zone or school enrollment, and often make a profit for the school system. They are not staffed by volunteers.

Teacher and coach

February 9th, 2011
2:23 pm

As to whether or not students can play for another high school in their “district,” each student only lives in 1 district. I don’t understand that argument. There are procedures in place for students that live in a different district than the school they attend – it’s called a permissive transfer. This is usually done because another school offers something that there’s does not.

And to the people worried their kid won’t make the team if more kids are able to play, grow up. If you’re worried about that, your kid probably won’t see the field much anyways. Maybe they should practice a little harder at home.

It all comes down to taxes. Why can two people pay the same amount of taxes but one gets to use it and one doesn’t? Like a previous poster said, maybe more kids will move to private schools to relieve the crowding at public schools.

Teacher Reader

February 9th, 2011
2:24 pm

This is to make way for vouchers. Just go to vouchers and skip this nonsense.


February 9th, 2011
2:27 pm

@Warrior Woman – Does every club that meets after school pay a facility use fee or are you referring to certain activities? What would be an example of a fee that is paid for a year?

I agree with “Mom to Public Schoolers” statement that “It seems as though there’s a resentment against parents who make a decision that a different form of education is better for their kids, a desire to punish them for that.” Not to generaIize, as it does not apply to everyone, but some parents have frustration and resentment over not having those same choices of private school or home schooling, for whatever reason. Sometimes, there is guilt and emotions related to school choices or lack thereof.

Regarding limited slots being taken by “outsiders” (including scholarships, team competition slots, etc.), assuming these students bring in more money and volunteers, opportunities will naturally expand and increase.

Chrome Gouda

February 9th, 2011
2:31 pm

Dunwoody Mom and catlady have got to use better reasoning in their arguments. They make no sense whatsoever.

I have to admite, I’ve started scanning comments on each board looking for the rantings and ravings of Top School. Talk about an axe to grind! I don’t know whatever happened to you at Jackson Elementary, but Lawd almighty, it is entertaining to hear you go on… and on… and on… about it.


February 9th, 2011
2:33 pm

While growing up I was a top tier swimmer. I attended a public HS that did not have swimming. The local Catholic HS had a great swim team, under these proposed rules should I have had the option to swim for the Catholic HS since my HS did not have swimming?


February 9th, 2011
2:38 pm

@Teacher and Coach-Exactly!
When I sponsored a club there were a few students that were not assests for the group. I didn’t get to pick the best for my club, it was open to all who qualified. I would have welcomed any student passionate about the same cause or organization for which I was volunteering my time.

I am concerned about any club or sport sponsor who is so overwhelmed they can’t handle a few more students.

The arguement that it’s not fair to parent volunteers makes no sense. We all know about 20% of parents do 80% of the work. The parent volunteers are already accustomed to lack of parental involvement. Home school families would most certainly help. These families would send their children to school if they were just looking for free childcare.

From my experience with scouts and 4-H, the parents of homeschooled students are much more involved than those of brick and mortar students. It may shock some, but I have seen children from all types of schools work well together and compete in both orgaizations.

Charter schools are PUBLIC schools

February 9th, 2011
2:43 pm

@Inman Park Boy 12:10 pm
@HStchr 1:12 pm
@Atlanta Mom 1:34 pm

You seem to be confusing public charters schools with private schools and vouchers.

Charter schools = public schools
Vouchers = money sent to private schools.

Here is the Frequently Asked Questions About Charter Schools on the Georgia DOE website if you don’t take my word for it:

Although for this topic, even though charter school students are PUBLIC students, allowing them to participate in non-charter public school teams and activities doesn’t seem to be the way to go in my opinion..
When you choose to attend a public charter school, you are giving up some things at your local public school for the flexibility and unique options available at the public charter. I believe you are either “in”, or you are “out”.

For private and home-schooled students, Rec and Parks and privately run sports/organizations are readily available in many places if your school doesn’t offer what you would like. Again, to me that’s the cost of your school choice and the responsibility of your chosen “community”.

This bill seems to be an attempt at a state mandate for something that should be left to the local school boards and municipalities.


February 9th, 2011
2:54 pm

@Charter schools are PUBLIC schools-Many small communities do not have private or rec sport leagues after elementary school. Also, many private schools allow home school and charter students to participate in their programs.

Larry Major

February 9th, 2011
2:56 pm

So… you read the bill they sponsored back to them – and they still don’t know what it says. That explains a lot of things that happen downtown.

Top School

February 9th, 2011
2:58 pm

@ Private School parent
I am sure this was an APS Northside School where you were ALLOWED to attend.
And what account was your check deposited?
General Fund? Miscellaneous Account? Re-Organization Account? or Principal’s Fund?

Top School

February 9th, 2011
3:03 pm

@Charter schools are PUBLIC schools
said…”This bill seems to be an attempt at a state mandate for something that should be left to the local school boards and municipalities.”

I think “some principals” already allow these special privileges to certain students. If it is NOT ALLOWED… there certainly IS NOT a method of reporting wrong-doing or challenging the principal in a corrupt system like APS.

Charter schools are PUBLIC schools

February 9th, 2011
3:04 pm


Agreed. That’s why I’m all for local BOEs and communities deciding for themselves instead of being mandated.

However, choosing to home-school or private-school is a choice, and those choices have consequences. If sports/clubs/activities are very important for a family’s students, then that should be given appropriate weight when making the schooling decision.

That may very well change which schooling option is chosen or even the community where a family decides to live while they are raising students.

Warrior Woman

February 9th, 2011
3:10 pm

@Ann – It depends on the club. For the sports booster club, we pay fees to use athletic facilities that are supposedly tied to the cost of upkeep and maintenance for the facilities (althought the allocation method results in lower impact sports like track paying the same fee for sod replacement as football, so I’m not sure how good the correlation is). We provide all equipment and pay for facility clean-up. We pay for liability insurance and have to idemnify the school. We also have required “donations” to replace things like sound systems and scoreboards when replacement is needed. For this year, the use fees, maintenance fees, staff fees, and mandatory donations will total about $10,000 for a total of 9 “home” games. This is over half of our budget.

For the academic club that I sponsor, we only have to either clean up after ourselves or pay for the janitor if the activity is during the time the building is normally open. Outside of those hours we pay a fee for someone to open and close the school and supervise our use. I expect our use fees to total about $500 this club. Outside groups can rent the facility under the same terms.

As you can see, it’s all over the map. From my Georgia experience, athletics bear a higher cost for facilities use. The cost was more equal between sports and non-sports in the last state where I participated, and I’ve also lived in states that didn’t charge for either.

As for your allegations of resentment, you couldn’t be more wrong. I have used other educational approaches in the past. I currently use public schools. I don’t resent others for making the educational choices that best serve their students, but I do think it is unfair to want to be part of a school for some things and not for others. If you want to be part of a school community, be part of it. If not, do your own thing or use Parks and Rec. If you want what’s best for your student, consider the whole student and make that decision. Don’t cherry pick. It’s a fairness issue.

Your argument about expansion of opportunities is just flat out wrong. There are limited slots for team captain, players, scholarships, and competitions of many kinds. Adding more kids doesn’t increase those slots, regardless of how many volunteers or how much money they bring, because the number of slots aren’t set by the club.

The assumption that homeschool and charter parents will naturally volunteer is also uninformed. That may happen, but I’ve also seen cases where those parents also say they’re exhausted from all the work involved in their educational choices and so aren’t doing anything with this activity.

Jackie T.

February 9th, 2011
3:11 pm

@ Teacher and Coach,

Isn’t APS (for example) a district? There are many zones (or whatever they call it) within each district. So, are we talking about a “district” or a “zone”? If we are talking about a “district”, a student living in Atlanta can play for any HS in APS, according to the language of this bill, right?

Top School

February 9th, 2011
3:16 pm

@ Chrome Gouda
It’s not an axe to grind…IF YOU WANT TO SEE HOW EVERY RULE CAN BE BROKEN and someone thinks they can get away with it…JACKSON is the place to be!

Love the name Chrome Gouda…
Sit down with a bag of popcorn…the leadership at JACKSON is very entertaining if you can stomach the lies and excuses for everything she thinks she can justify.

Just helping others to see…it’s not just the Southside of Atlanta that has problems…NORTHSIDE…scores are just as invalid, even more so because they have much more to lose. Heaven forbid if their test scores ever drop or the minority ratio goes in another direction. Those PTA PARENTS working the system will make another STEP UP SOCIETY…or open another neighborhood private school until they can rezone the school.

High School Coach

February 9th, 2011
3:22 pm

Please, just say no to this crazy idea. In addition to working with students after school, we help look after their grades and conduct. How is that possible with students who do not attend class in the building. Please say no. We just do not need recruiting wars to get any worse.


February 9th, 2011
3:24 pm

I often have this discussion with my friends who reside in the most affluent county in our dear state. They say, “if you don’t like your local school, just move.” For those who can move, they do have choices. The reality is that many families do not have the ability to exercise their choice and “just move” for a number of reasons.
Charter, virtual, and home school provide choices for those without choices.


February 9th, 2011
3:31 pm

Hear, hear to the Dunwoody and Warrior Moms!


February 9th, 2011
4:17 pm

@ Warrior Woman. Thanks for explaining the fees clubs pay. That is helpful to know. Regarding resentment, as I said before, it does not apply to all parents, only some as I stated. I hear parents expressing resentment towards others’ choices over the years regarding a variety of important personal child rearing decisions, whether it is breastfeeding or formula, stay at home or work, vaccinations, schooling. There is a lot of emotion, guilt and other feelings that come to the surface in strong ways. It is not a criticism, just a fact of life, as many of these decisions are tough, complex, and not always ideal.

Regarding additional students participating leading to more opportunities, that again is not referring to all cases. But, generally speaking, if you have more kids participating and more parents raising funds, at least, in some cases, that would lead to more money “as a group” to offer additional scholarships and other services.

Mom to public schoolers

February 9th, 2011
4:18 pm

“[C]hoosing to home-school or private-school is a choice, and those choices have consequences.”

Um, yeah.

(One of those consequences, currently, is that you have to pay (or work) to educate your child AND you have to pay to educate everyone else’s children, which is all by itself a pretty darn big consequence. I have friends who have made very large sacrifices, including, possibly, spending their child’s college money or their retirement fund on private school, despite being strongly in favor of public school education, because they felt after giving it a try that the public school was harmful for their particular child. Not everyone whose child is in private school is there because they just like the cachet of private school, and not everyone who could potentially bring a lawsuit against a school under the the civil rights and disability laws does so.)

But what we’re discussing is what consequences those choices *should* have. You can’t answer *that* question by repeatedly saying that “choices have consequences”. It’s not as if the Eleventh Commandment is “thou shalt not attend after-school activities at the public school if thou merely wishes to pay taxes for the public schools rather than also send thy child there five days a week from 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.”

“If you want to be part of a school community, be part of it. If not, do your own thing or use Parks and Rec.”

And presumably those who send their kids to public school can’t use Parks and Rec, since they’re not part of that community? (There’s an argument here parallel to the private-schools-siphoning-off-parental-energy argument – if public schools weren’t allowed to have / sponsor / subsidize extracurricular activities, maybe more tax money would go to Parks and Rec or other community activities, or maybe more parents would put their energies there.)

Actually, though, while I strongly disagree with Warrior Woman about which way the fairness issue cuts, I do see the point about school camaraderie / school spirit kind of thing. I mean, you could make the same arguments to allow public/private/homeschooled kids to go to extracurricular activities at schools other than their “local” or “home” schools too – why not anywhere in the district? Presumably the answer to that has something to do with the importance of building and preserving a sense of community.

So one basic question, which is hinted at in many of the posts, is: what do you want the “community” to be? Do you want it to be public school students versus private/home school students? Or do you want the community to be more inclusive? (I would love it if my child’s private school friends could join her in activities at her school. Maybe competitive sports are different, and I don’t really have an opinion on that … so long as my tax dollars aren’t going to subsidize them, as so many knowledgeable posters here seem to be saying is the case.)