Has attorney general confused charter school question? As Nancy Grace says, bring on the lawyers.

As I noted yesterday, the charter school amendment battle has turned into a legal minefield, with charges and counter charges flying back and forth.

Olens was approached by pro-amendment interests, who haven’t been identified by their attorney Glenn Delk. They were aghast at the public opposition to the amendment by GOP school chief John Barge and by many school boards around the state. They thought it crossed a line.

Olens agreed. Barge took down a link on the DOE web site to his opposition statement.

Then, Olens sent Barge a letter this week saying that school boards cannot use district resources or funds to lobby against the amendment, maintaining that school boards “do not have the legal authority to expend funds or other resources to advocate or oppose the ratification of a constitutional amendment by the voters. They may not do this directly or indirectly through associations to which they may belong.”

But Atlanta attorney Emmet Bondurant says Olens — who cited a Bondurant case in his letter — cannot stop elected officials from opposing the amendment.

“While the AG is right that a public agency (including the governor and the Legislature) should not use public funds to try to influence the outcome of a referendum, it does not follow that John Barge, as the elected State School Superintendent, or local School Superintendents or members of local School Boards are also prohibited from speaking out and advocating the passage or the defeat of a referendum,” says Bondurant, named one of the top 10 trial lawyers in the United States by the National Law Journal.

I have been inundated with emails on this issue today, with readers raising questions whether, for example, the Georgia Charter Schools Association, a trade group that receives membership dues from public charter schools, is also banned from seeking public support for the amendment. The association is a leading proponent of the amendment and has had a high profile in the campaign to pass it.

And readers are asking whether charter schools can still bring their staffs and students to the Capitol for pro amendment rallies and press conferences, which entails public funds since the schools are supported by taxes, as are all public schools

I put these questions to the AG’s Office in an email today and received this reply from Senior Assistant Attorney General Stefan Ritter.

Our letter laid out a broad legal principle: local government entities of any sort cannot use the taxpayers’ resources to tell the taxpayers how to vote – regardless of whether they’re lobbying for a yes or a no vote.

Lobbying the General Assembly is a different matter: the Georgia Supreme Court (and our letter) has clearly distinguished between using public resources to lobby the General Assembly, which is permissible, and using public resources to lobby voters on a referendum, which is prohibited.

Again, this is a principle that applies equally regardless of which side one is one. You can’t expend public resources to lobby voters to vote yes or to vote no.

Let me note, though, our letter did not discuss any specific applications of this principle. Whether public resources have been expended in lobbying the voters is a fact-specific question, and our client (Ga DOE) has not requested that we review any specific factual circumstances to determine whether the broad (and long-standing) legal principle our letter outlines has been violated.

In the context of associations, our letter made clear that government entities cannot lobby voters indirectly through associations that are essentially extensions of the government entities. Whether a particular association is essentially an extension of a government entity is a fact-specific question that we can’t answer in the abstract.

I hope this is helpful on your question.

I also put the question to some attorneys who specialize in education law. Among the responses: “A main focus of the Olens’ letter is its emphasis on the constitutional and statutory prohibitions on the use of school funds for other than educational purposes. Yet, this prohibition does not solely apply to local school boards and would certainly appear to be applicable to use of public funds by charter schools as well.  In other words, if a local school system may not commit any public funds to advocating for or against passage of a constitutional amendment, then that prohibition would apply equally to a publicly funded charter school.”

Olens pledged clarification on this issue in the next two weeks. It’s needed.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

95 comments Add your comment

Pride and Joy

October 4th, 2012
9:03 pm

…and what I am furious over is that PTAs are using their funds and time to oppose the amendment when there are dues paying members who SUPPORT the amendment.

crankee-yankee

October 4th, 2012
9:15 pm

So it will take 2 weeks to determine if the ruling that applies to publicly funded school systems/boards also applies to publicly funded charter schools? Why?

I suggest all webpages, signage, etc set up by charter entities be noted in the next 2 weeks so if the ruling is the same for charters as it is for non-charters so that suit can be brought.

Let the circus begin!

crankee-yankee

October 4th, 2012
9:17 pm

Sorry, drop the “so that” after non-charters and add a comma.

ken

October 4th, 2012
9:53 pm

No wonder the state of Georgia is the cellar dweller of all 50 states in terms of ethics. Chip “voucher boy” Rogers is doing his part to keep Georgia there. Charter schools are private schools in disguise. You vote for this sorry piece of legislation, then you take away local control and give it to the state.

ken

October 4th, 2012
9:55 pm

All legislators who voted to put the charter amendment on the ballot ought to be thrown out of office.

John Konop

October 4th, 2012
10:02 pm

Maureen,

What I do not understand how can a private management company donate to the campaign, since it is our tax dollars? That would mean that part of their fee we tax payers paid them was for the campaign. And we had the state board approve the budget based on the charter school serving the kids,not a campaign.

Miss Management

October 4th, 2012
10:30 pm

Yes, all of these leaders are entitled to their opinion and can vote, however, as I understand it, the issue is that these folks who already benefit greatly from their government jobs were using tax dollars to send out letters against something that many of those taxpayers may be supportive of. Is that right? This lady on the news who led a mandated school board ’seminar’ spent the whole time talking about how to defeat the charter school amendment. Are you happy that your tax dollars paid for dozens of school board members to sit there all day and listen to the lady rant against charter schools? She completely admitted it on the news reports. She was indignant. She felt very much entitled to hoist her opinion on her captive crowd, complete with explicit direction. Really, really bold, IMO.

http://www.wsbtv.com/videos/news/secret-recordings-show-board-using-tax-dollars-to/vffDM/

Charles Douglas Edwards

October 4th, 2012
10:35 pm

We urge all fair minded Georgia voting citizens to oppose this charter school amendment !!!

It is very important to defeat this constitutional amendment. The stakes are very, very high.

It will be much, much easier to defeat this amendment than try to overturn or repeal it in the future.

The powers to be understand this and are pulling out all their efforts to pass this amendment.

We believe that this charter school amendment is regressive and will lead us back to separate and unequal school systems.

Georgia should be spending it time, resources and efforts on establishing the best public education possible to benefit the most children.

We cannot afford the expense of taxpayers funding charter schools in addition to public schools.

Last year the world celebrated the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. monument. A year later his home state of Georgia is trying to turn back the hands of time with this amendment.

We pray and hope the good people of Georgia will see the light.

Ron F.

October 4th, 2012
10:50 pm

Supporters of either side may exercise their right to speak, pass out fliers, whatever, so long as they do it outside of the job hours and using their own resources. If I read this correctly, we can say and do what we wish on either side so long as it doesn’t directly use any state property, funds, or resources. That means no more trooping the kiddies down for rallies that are public and could be construed as trying to sway voters. They can go to the Assembly chambers and offices, but that’s about it. Opponents have the same right to directly contact Assembly members, but they can’t have a public rally or meeting before or after. It’s a fine line that folks on both sides will have to agree to stay on the right side of for the next few weeks. Clearly, Olens was targeting one side in his initial statement, but even he as AG knows surely knew he would be called to task as to how this affects both sides.

Quite frankly, in the last month before a vote as early voting has already begun, I think most people have made up their minds. There are not enough votes left to sway that would throw this thing one way or the other. Perhaps the public campaigning needs to take a rest now and let the voters do their job. The majority will speak one way or the other and we’ll have to work with the choice they make.

Ron F.

October 4th, 2012
10:54 pm

“the issue is that these folks who already benefit greatly from their government jobs were using tax dollars to send out letters against something that many of those taxpayers may be supportive of. Is that right?”

Both sides have done it, and if there is a violation of state law, they’re both guilty. Olens decided to point out one side’s activities while not mentioning the other. Supporters and opponents both are currently receiving tax dollars and must be careful about how they express and encourage their point of view.

DeKalbParent

October 4th, 2012
10:56 pm

@Miss Management, you are absolutely right! “This lady on the news who led a mandated school board ’seminar’ spent the whole time talking about how to defeat the charter school amendment. Are you happy that your tax dollars paid for dozens of school board members to sit there all day and listen to the lady rant against charter schools?”

I work for an elected official and it has been made very clear that we cannot advocate for an election measure without risking our jobs!

CharterStarter, Too

October 4th, 2012
11:01 pm

@ John Konop,

I understand your question and your reason for asking it, but I believe the answer is that they provided a service in exchange for a fee, and what they choose to do with their fee is irrelevant to the conversation.

The same would apply to the builders, attorneys, and other vendors who contributed to the Vote No campaign. These private entities have the same right.

And vendors on both sides, are naturally wanting to support their clients.

CharterStarter, Too

October 4th, 2012
11:06 pm

Ron, the rallies I have attended have been in support of charter schools in general, which have laws established rear din them. It is also a real way for kids to be involved in a very direct way with application of their rights as citizens and to understand how government works and the schools use the opportunity to tour the Capitol and meet their legislators as well.

To my knowledge, there haven’t been any rallies after the legislature was out of session.

CharterStarter, Too

October 4th, 2012
11:06 pm

CharterStarter, Too

October 4th, 2012
11:11 pm

Charles Douglas Edwards – we are at the bottom of the list in national education. How much further can we “regress.” 41 states have charter laws, and the strongest performing ones have alternative authorizers. All of those states rank higher than us (and many significantly so.)

I believe moving forward takes you somewhere….standing still gets you nowhere. Charters are one way to move this state forward. Stay behind if you wish in practices and philosophies that are outdated and on the whole, have proven to be ineffective, or let’s move forward together and offer kids EVERY OPPORTUNITY we can to help them succeed.

Ron F.

October 4th, 2012
11:14 pm

CS2- But when it’s used as a public event with supervising adults who are paid by the state during working hours, then it would seem to be awfully close to that line. It would be the same thing if I attended the rally for or against as a supported during a school day. Private meetings with legislators it seems would be acceptable, and that’s fine. You’re right- there haven’t been any I know of since the adjournment, and certainly having a pro or anti rally on a weekend would be okay as long as fliers aren’t being printed at school or in a state office. That’s the problem-both sides are going to have to be careful about how and when meetings or rallies are held. And that has to be applied to both sides, since both are taxpayer supported. I honestly think by this point that most have made up their minds anyway, so in reality it’s probably a moot point. It is at least good information to keep in mind in the coming years. The amendment vote, regardless of outcome, isn’t going to end the debate I’m sure!

A reader

October 4th, 2012
11:40 pm

So, are any tax-payer funds being used to advertise the support of this legislation?? Probably, but I really do not know. But I do know that tax-payer funds were used to promote TSPLOTS. Which was another boondoggle designed to pad the pockets of the “friends” of the elected officials.

Who “wins” if this legislature passes? Private companies who are in the business to create charter schools to line their own pockets. Who else “wins”? Those 15 APPOINTED individuals who get appointed at a high salary to oversee this baby.

I vote no. I do not trust ANY elected individual in GA. And I certainly do not trust THE STATE to do right by education. They have already shown that they deserve a big FAIL.

Mary Elizabeth

October 4th, 2012
11:45 pm

The constitutional amendment is unnecessary. The state BOE can already establish state charter schools. In my opinion, the consitutional amendment was established for the purpose of supplanting “government” education for more privatized education, in which some will make a profit off of school children.

Sandy Springs Parent

October 5th, 2012
1:18 am

Charter schools are bogus. I am a Liberal, what you need is real school choice, give parents a voucher to cover the actual cost of the education. They have finally admitted it by saying they would give the charters the ave. of the 5 lowest cost districts, just under $8k per student. Ironically this amount is right on what the Arch Dioseses of Atlanta sponsored Catholic schools K-8 schools seem to be running since they went to the parent pay the full cost of education model, with financial aid available to those in need..

So let’s be honest everyone registers their child with their true home residence district. They are then given a $4k voucher for Pre-k, 8k for k to 8, and 12-16k for High School with special Ed students receiving an additional $8 to $20k depending on the disability. If they use it at the home school they are bused to the home school. If they choose not to go to the public school they are distracted to they can take a bus to the school and then pay a fee to be transported to another in district school that they would prefer to attend or the parent can transport them. Many Private schools such as Woodward and St. Francis offer buses that pick up students from pick up points throughout the area, for about $2,000yr. . The college park marta station is full of Woodward students riding it.

having a true Voucher system, that pays at least $8k a year will inspire competition. The public schools will have to get better to get the money and the private schools will too. It can’t be some measly $4k amount that I have heard some bat around saying that so much is spent on special Ed. In private schools, people only keep their kids in the more expensive speech school, Skenk school, Sophia, etc… For 1, 2,3 or so years for dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, Speeh, Autism, ect. Because the parents are paying the costs themselves. You also don,t have speech and physical therapy at school, you go to an out patient clinic, where your health insurance, ga peach, Medicare or Medicaid. I have never understood why the schools are paying for this. I have one friend that took her daughter who goes to private school to the Fulton Public SChool she is zoned for, speech therapy. Her husband works for a Fortune 50 company and makes a quarter million a year. Even though it was cover by their insurance she didn’t want to pay the $20 co-pay. I lived in Cobb at the time and they wouldn’t authorize speech therapy untile age 8, ( too late) so I took my child to children’s healthcare and paid the $50 co pay on each visit. School districts should not bear these costs, these are the parents responsibilities and their insurance.

RAMZAD

October 5th, 2012
2:04 am

Those people who are adamant that the Amendment 1 is a bad idea may be forgetting that the debacle that we have for public education is a product of local control. Local control has clearly established itself as public enemy one against public education.

School districts where high school graduates can not read. School Boards that operated like Beruit ghetto gangs. A school district that lost its accreditation. A school district that was exhibit A for the largest public school cheating scandal in the United States. A school district where a project manager, her husband a secretary and the Superintendent ripped of nearly $2,000,000 from the system. A school district where one in five senior did not graduate last May. Parents who try to smuggle their children into accredited or functioning zones, schools gets charged with fraud and misrepresentation.

That is local control, in case we are forgetting which problem this Amendment 1 is supposed to address.

John Konop

October 5th, 2012
2:08 am

Charter,

In all due respect a private management company is not an ordinary vendor, since they control way more than an ordinary vendor. Private management companies are used in the private sector all the time, from hotels, property………The duties, responsibilities, authority……are way more than ordinary vendors and are covered, with many more restrictions in their contract, to cover the numerous conflicts of interest. I would hope you would understand the scope of issues are not the same as hiring builders, lawyers…..they are in charge?

Kris

October 5th, 2012
2:15 am

SLAPP: Acronym for “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.” A lawsuit intended to intimidate activists and/or opponents. Coined in 1989 by Penelope Canan and George Pring of the U. of Denver: “Every year… hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lawsuits are filed that are aimed at preventing citizens from exercising their political rights or punishing those who have done so.”

It looks like he charter school mess is heading this way…

Vote NO

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

October 5th, 2012
4:00 am

Does Sam Olens’ opinion count in Richmond County? Last night, the RCBOE held a forum on the proposed charter school amendment. The speaker was the president of The Georgia School Boards Association. Wonder what position she presented?

Note

October 5th, 2012
5:47 am

Local PTAs who are speaking out against this amendment are following the Georgia PTA position and guidelines. The PTA is a political organization. Perhaps if PTA learned to exercise their political muscle at the local level, we wouldn’t have the mess we have due to the austerity cuts.

This amendment isn’t about he existence of charter schools. Obviously there is a path for approval both at the local and state level. This is about dismantling public education. If public education is so bad, why do we have some of the best higher education schools in the country? Is everyone attending Georgia Tech and UGA from out of state?

mountain man

October 5th, 2012
6:29 am

So we will see what the November vote brings. I will vote YES. From the looks of the polls, so will a majority of voters. As I have said before, the local BOEs have dug their own hole by indiscriminately turning down local carters to maintain control over “their” money. Serves them right if the amendment gets passed. The educational lobby has fought this amendment tooth and nail. They had their chance to solve educational issues – for the past forty years. They have been failing miserably. Time to try the alternative – or at least give a few parents some CHOICE.

South Georgia Retired Educator

October 5th, 2012
7:07 am

Let’s face it. The AG is doing the Governor’s bidding, trying to put down opposing views and stalling further clarification until Nov. 6. And the whole issue boils down to those loud voices who want to split public schools into pieces and consequently undo decades of building public schools that serve the whole spectrum of kids—all races, all abilities, rich and poor, etc. There are some positives about charter schools within the context of preserving the integrity of public schools, but these loud voices now sound like a familiar tune for “let’s go back to the way it was before integration.” I can’t read it any other way, and we know we can’t return to that awful time in our history.

sneak peak into education

October 5th, 2012
9:06 am

@CS2-maybe we are at the bottom of the list but

1. There has been a $4 billion cut to public education, yet gains have been made.
2. The legislature has failed to say where the money is coming from to fund these state approved charter schools.
3. The public is being asked to give up their democratic right to vote on local issues by passing it into the hands of a non-elected board that will be appointed by the governor.
4. The provision in this amendment already exists with the appeals process going through the state BoE.
5. A vote of no does not mean that people are against charter schools, they are against an unnecessary layer of government, which republicans supposedly hate big government except when it is used to push their agenda, but against the idea of putting all the power into the hands on a non-elected board.

Check out the http://www.votesmartgeorgia.com/facts for the truth behind this amendment, the policy writing group ALEC and their influence in the halls of our legislature.

VOTE NO in NOvember.

Gwinnett Voter

October 5th, 2012
9:08 am

Empty Seats. I think this is one of the biggest reasons GCPS is against charter schools. They stopped making capacity and enrollment counts available a couple of years ago. Using very conservative calculations, I find:

23, 099 empty seats in traditional GCPS schools. (available now if needed)
10,000 empty seats in 10 schools for special programs (could be available next year)
10,000 additional seats proposed by ESPLOST IV

When you are looking at 40,000 empty seats in your schools, you don’t want any competition, right?

Regardless of whether the Charter Amendment passes, why does GCPS not house public Charter Schools in underutilized facilities?

sneak peak into education

October 5th, 2012
9:16 am

sneak peak into education

October 5th, 2012
10:26 am

Looks like there is plenty of opposition to the amendment but,as the writer states, it looks like the writers of the ballot amendment may be in trouble for the preamble wording because it leads the voter to believe that only charters lead to higher student achievement and parental involvement. Please read

http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2012/10/03/2226603/elliott-brack-charter-debate-is.html

VOTE NO in NOvember

Concerned Teacher

October 5th, 2012
10:28 am

Can a school have propoganda against the amendment sitting in the teacher’s workroom? I don’t know who put it there or copied it or where they copied it, but a large stack of Vote No fact sheets from Vote Smart Georgia is sitting in our workroom. It bothers me.

alpharetta mom

October 5th, 2012
10:32 am

Any feel like they’re in communist china- down with the educators say the party operatives! The propaganda spewed out by this privatization machine is despicable. 1) We already have a law which specifiies the process by which a charter school which has been denied by a local board can appeal to the State BOE – there is NO evidence that this has or will be challenged anyone – unless the General Assembly persists in their ongoing efforts to defund traditional public schools perhaps. 2) the legislation itself is a piece of crap – it is an empty suit – no specifics on what schools where, what populations need to be served, no monitoring mechanism – it is a black hole just like the $51M SSO program that know one knows about to send money via “scholarships” to religious schools. There is no money is supporting public education but there is a ton of money in supporting privatization of public education. Anyone notice that since our housing market went down the tube – the hedge funds, lawyers, developers have all migrated where? Charter Schools! Vote NO

Atlanta Mom

October 5th, 2012
10:43 am

‘local government entities of any sort cannot use the taxpayers’ resources to tell the taxpayers how to vote ”
I’m confused. Didn’t we have plenty of government entities telling us how to vote for the T-Splost?

catlady

October 5th, 2012
11:04 am

In 2 weeks? Is that enough of a “head start”? Maybe Olens should wait till November 5th to rule on the “pro” side use of funds.

DeKalb Inside Out

October 5th, 2012
11:12 am

Miss Management – 10/4 @ 10:30pm
tax dollars paid for dozens of school board members to sit there all day and listen to the lady rant against charter schools?

Dozens ?? Try 95% of all Board of Education representatives across the state. That’s roughly 1000 representatives across the state are sent to Savannah for the GSBA Annual Conference where they are taught how to organize and defeat Georgia Charter Schools, Amendment 1.

Accounting for room, board and travel expenses Georgia taxpayers easily paid over $500,000 for the BOEs to go to Savannah and lear how to Defeat Charter Schools Amendment Conference.

But wait, there’s more. Georgia taxpayers paid GSBA almost $300,000 in fees to teach all the Board Of Education representatives from across the state how to defeat Georgia Charter Schools, Amendment 1.

I’m no lawyer, but I think that’s against the law. Get Schooled, feel free to make that your next post.

DeKalb Inside Out

October 5th, 2012
11:29 am

Mary Elizabeth – 10/4 @ 11:46pm
The state BOE can already establish state charter schools.

http://www.senate.ga.gov/sro/Documents/AtIssue/atissue_nov11.pdf

Since the 2011 Georgia Supreme Court decision, the state can only approve “State Chartered Special Schools”. The Charter School Amendment was written to address that supreme court decision.

Mary Elizabeth,
I challenge you to find a charter school approved by the state since the ruling that isn’t labeled “State Chartered Special School”. Note: Virtual schools don’t count.

What is a “State Chartered Special Schools”
Majority Opinion in said case stated the phrase “special schools” is most readily interpreted by defining what those schools are not… “They are not schools that enroll the same types of K-12 students who attend general K-12 public schools; they are not schools that teach the same subjects that may be taught at general K-12 public schools.”

Thank you, come again.

sneak peak into education

October 5th, 2012
11:42 am

Maureen, after reading the op-ed piece by Elliot Brack, he states “Now to the sinister aspect. The wording on the ballot appears to be possibly unconstitutional, in that it directs your response to the eventual question by telling you it would mean improved student achievement, and more parent involvement, through the public charter options…It’s saying something like: surely you want this, for it’s improving and giving more parental options.”

How do we get a constitutional lawyer to confirm if the wording is, indeed, constitutional? Anyone know?

DeKalb Inside Out

October 5th, 2012
11:50 am

Ron F, et al.
Where did Olens single out opponents to the charter school amendment? Even though traditional public school boards are only passing resolutions against the amendment (as recommended by the GSBA in the $1,000,000 Defeat The Charter School Amendment Conference paid for by tax payers), Olens was neutral in his response to Barge’s request:

“Local school boards do not have the legal authority to expend funds or other resources to advocate or oppose the ratification of a constitutional amendment by the voters. “

C Jae of EAV

October 5th, 2012
12:31 pm

@Pride and Joy – I’ve posed the same question to charter school parents who have PTA organizations in their schools. I get blank stares.

@John Knoop – I understand your logic but unless all of a management companies (EMOs/CMOs) income is derived from work done for charter schools that’s paid for with public $’s, I believe it would be tough sledding to argue your point. These management companies are going to pour $’s into any political campaign effort they feel will enchance their opportunity to make a profit. Further, I disagree with your point about these EMOs/CMOs not being an vendor like unto any other. I understood that EMOs/CMOs are by law not allowed representation on charter school governing boards. Therefore, their control is limited to the authority permitted them via their contract with the school. At the end of the day its the charter govering board that’s the ultimate authority. Am I missing something?

@Gwinnett Voter – Your idea requires local districts want to establish progressive working relationships with the charters that operate in their borders. Instead the position of most local boards is to fight tooth and nail againest the expansion of charter schools and put up obstacles to those that exist in the hopes that they fail.

C Jae of EAV

October 5th, 2012
12:36 pm

@sneak peak into education et al – Realistically, the wording of the ballot measure that allowed local boards to take tax revenue collected for schools and redirect for inclusion into Tax Allocation Districts(TADS) was equally as leading, but there was no objection raised 4 years ago when it was on the ballot.

Its seems to the me these ballot measures are purposefully written in a manner that mis-directs voters concerning the underlying issue. But then the language for the ballot is a factor of what was explictly stated in the legislative bill that spawned the vote in the first place. Thus if you don’t like the language blame your representative. Further, I would like to think the legality of the language would have been vetted before it was included in the bill.

Beverly Fraud

October 5th, 2012
1:07 pm

What if APS exchanges its surplus erasers for lobbying efforts? Would that be against the law?

mommamonster

October 5th, 2012
1:28 pm

CCAE (Cobb County Association of Educators) is holding two forums on the Charter School Amendment. The first is 10/10 at Campbell HS at 5:30. The second is at Hillgrove HS on 10/24 at 5:30. If you would like a CCAE “Vote NO on 1″ yard sign let me know!

John Konop

October 5th, 2012
1:58 pm

…………..their control is limited to the authority permitted them via their contract with the school. At the end of the day its the charter govering board that’s the ultimate authority. Am I missing something?………

It all depends on the scope of the contract and their influence on purchasing, policy………Once again private management contracts I have seen are very strict on any conflict of interest, for very obvious reasons. I am not a lawyer, just asking the question.

Really?

October 5th, 2012
2:53 pm

Guess what! The State Department of Education APPROVED 3 Start-up Charter Schools yesterday (2 in Chatham and 1 in Henry) as well as APPROVED 3 CHARTER RENEWALS in Cobb, Coweta and Atlanta. How in the world did that happen if we have to pass the amendment in order for the state to approve? It’s already in place folks!

Joe Rural

October 5th, 2012
3:04 pm

This is merely the opinion of AG Sam Olens’, which is he certainly entitled to have and to share. However, that does NOT entitle him to try to foist his “opinion” on everyone else’s behavior!

sneak peak into education

October 5th, 2012
3:14 pm

@really-I totally agree

VOTE No in NOvember

Mary Elizabeth

October 5th, 2012
3:42 pm

DeKalb Inside Out, 11:29 am

The link you gave regarding the Commission for Charter Schools mentions the funding of local school district funds being diverted to state charter schools. That funding element, to my knowledge, would not be happening with the state DOE’s authorized state charter schools.

Readers must understand that the wording in the General Assembly’s legislation that states “special charter schools” does not refer to “special ed” charter schools, but to public charter schools in general. All public schools, whether they are traditional public schools or public charter schools, cannot discriminate in terms of what they offer in curriculum to ALL public schools students.

If a local school district denies a special charter school to parents, those parents can currently apply to the state Board of Education to establish a start up charter school, as long as that charter school meets the state’s educational standards.

You asked me to name one state charter school that had been given authority to exist by the state Board of Education. Odyssey School is one example. If you go to the following link you will see the whole list of those charter schools that have had state BOE approval:

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/External-Affairs-and-Policy/Charter-Schools/Pages/Approved-Charter-Schools.aspx

Also, please be aware of the law that established that the state’s DOE has the authority to establish special charter schools. It is 20-2-2064-1 (c)

Taking all of this information into consideration, I continue to maintain that the Consitutional Amendment, which establishes a state Commission for Charter Schools, is unnecessary.Therefore, I continue to recommend that citizens vote NO to the Consitutional Amendement in November. That Consitutional Amendment is Amendment #1.

DeKalb Inside Out

October 5th, 2012
4:07 pm

Really? stated The State Department of Education APPROVED 3 Start-up Charter Schools yesterday (2 in Chatham and 1 in Henry) as well as APPROVED 3 CHARTER RENEWALS in Cobb, Coweta and Atlanta.

This would make my points moot if true.

Really?, Is this online anywhere?

Tony

October 5th, 2012
4:28 pm

Dekalb – here is the agenda from yesterday’s meeting. It shows the charter applications on the consent agenda. https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/ViewMeetingOrder.aspx?S=1262&MID=25698

Tony

October 5th, 2012
4:38 pm

The governor and his cronies have crossed into fantasy land with these recent AG opinions, and remember they are opinions not law, regarding who can and cannot speak for or against this amendment. Bottom line is simple – they want to silence those of us who are pointing out with truthfulness the flawed legislation and amendment they want passed.

Amendment 1 is not about improving choices for children. If our legislature and governor truly cared about education in our state, we would not have had the tremendous cuts to our public education budget they have enacted over the last 10 years. We would not see such onerous rules and regulations being pushed on public schools. Instead, if these officials actually cared about the 95% of children in our state who depend on public education, we would hear them talking about the development of means to shore up the budget weaknesses. We would hear about their ideas to support our teachers with better resources and class sizes that were more appropriate. But no. All we hear from them is how much Georgia needs charter schools. Well, we already have them and guess what! They are not helping us that much.

Now that some leaders have had enough guts to speak out with truthfulness, the tactic being used is legal posturing to intimidate them and try to silence them. This all sounds rather unAmerican to me. If the procharter side is so correct in their position, why do they fear what we have to say in opposition. Why do they have to threaten us with lawsuits simply because we have the audacity to speak out?