Follow the money for anti-charter amendment campaign, too

There’s a logical explanation for the bitter opposition to the charter-schools amendment. Just ask Edward Lindsey, the Buckhead Republican who serves as House majority whip.

“This isn’t about ideology,” Lindsey says. “It’s about turf. It’s about those folks who have a vested interest, no matter how mediocre the present may be, in not changing.”

The turf in question is the power to approve charter schools — and thus how some public education funds are spent. Amendment One would empower the state to create charter schools in two instances. The first is for statewide charters; think virtual schools that teach online courses.

The other is when a local school board denies a charter application. The state could then conduct its own review and decide whether to approve and fund the school.

Who considers those powers an invasion of their own turf? Follow the money.

After its latest report, filed Tuesday, the anti-amendment group Vote SMART! had a donor base comprising 146 people and eight companies that had given a combined $104,263 (along with almost $19,000 in gifts not itemized). Who are they?

Thirty-four of them are current or former superintendents. That group gave more than $16,000.

Another 30 are other types of school-system administrators: area superintendents, assistant superintendents, directors of some kind or another. These folks contributed an additional $14,000.

Eleven members of various school boards around Georgia gave almost $4,000. Ten principals shelled out $2,576.

In all, almost 60 percent of the Vote SMART! donors and more than a third of its donations came from people who run our traditional public schools. That’s one bit of turf.

Then there are the professional organizations: the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, Georgia School Boards Association and Georgia School Superintendents Association. Fifteen employees of these groups donated more than $15,000.

Now let’s look at companies that do business with school systems. Yes, traditional public schools already outsource some work to for-profit firms; the educational management firms that do administrative work for some charter schools would hardly introduce the profit motive into our education system.

In fact, 35 people or firms who do business with traditional public schools, from attorneys and consultants to architects and contractors, have given more than $32,000 to the anti-amendment campaign.

Now, am I missing any job description in the education field? Hmmm, let’s see …

Oh, yes. Teachers. Well, make that teacher: Just one current teacher is listed as a contributor to Vote SMART! Also, one retired counselor. They gave about 500 bucks total.

If these numbers don’t rise to the levels you’ve read about for the pro-amendment side, keep in mind that they don’t include money from education PACs opposing Amendment One. The PAC for the Georgia Association of Educators, for instance, has reported very few itemized gifts this year but almost $115,000 in non-itemized ones — and nearly $350,000 in cash on hand.

From what we can see, though, almost 90 percent of the donors and $4 of every $5 donated come from the people running our schools and the firms they do business with. It’s a campaign of the educational establishment, by the educational establishment, for the educational establishment.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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147 comments Add your comment

Google "NEA" and "donations"

October 26th, 2012
6:42 pm

The teachers’ unions, represented locally by the Georgia Association of Educators, are steadfastly against education reform and parental choice.

If the amendment passes, the union strategy of fielding phony “Republicans” in local school board races to doom all charter school applications—will ultimately prove less fruitful.

Rent the film WAITING FOR SUPERMAN to learn more.

Then do a Google search on “NEA” and “donations” and you’ll see that the National Education Association, GAE’s parent union, is also a cash-cow for Democrats—and for every liberal-left
pressure group in the news.

Finally, vote “YES” on the Charter School Amendment ballot Initiative!

Google "NEA" and "union"

October 26th, 2012
6:48 pm

… And for those who like to pretend there are no unions in Georgia’s schools—understand that each and every Georgia Association of Educators member pays an additional $168 yearly to belong to the NEA and fund its liberal-left politics.


October 26th, 2012
6:52 pm

Wow, Kyle you were reading my mind! And exactly why we need this amendment. I voted YES. A lot of others are too!


October 26th, 2012
7:06 pm

Vote “yes” on this amendment. It will help ensure that your children won’t have to go to school with poor people and people of other races.

Hillbilly D

October 26th, 2012
7:31 pm

It’ll never happen but if I had my way, I’d pass a constitutional amendment that only people who are eligible to vote in an election can contribute to the campaigns. That would do away with all the corporate money, union money, out-of-state money, etc. etc. Like I said, it’ll never happen but I am always suspect of anybody who donates money for an election in an area where they don’t even live. I have to figure they have an ulterior motive of some kind.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right

October 26th, 2012
7:31 pm

Its a shame conservatives aren’t as shallow as “youlibs” think we are.

We leave that to you libs.


October 26th, 2012
7:56 pm

I wonder what the going rate is for an industrious blogger, such as those posting on this blog and others?

Hillbilly D

October 26th, 2012
8:01 pm

I wonder what the going rate is for an industrious blogger, such as those posting on this blog and others?

If anybody is paying for this stuff, it just proves P T Barnum knew what he was talking about.


October 26th, 2012
8:02 pm

“… And for those who like to pretend there are no unions in Georgia’s schools”

Those lobbyists that appear annually when the legislature is in session and lobby for government indoctrination center ‘teachers’ don’t work for free! Someone is footing the bill for their efforts and the required “gifts”, dining and drinking!

Check this out

October 26th, 2012
8:12 pm

To learn more about how charter schools need MORE oversight, not LESS, take a look at the stories on this site:

It’s a no-brainer! Local, elected boards will be more responsive than an appointed, UNelected state board. Keep local control, no matter how you feel about charter schools, we can all agree that oversight is a good thing.

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

October 26th, 2012
8:13 pm

Coincidence you should write this Kyle. I did not have this on my mind until driving around late this afternoon, in exurban Gordon County, where the schools are pretty good and mostly white. Low and behold, I started noticing the vote NO on Amendment 1 signs. I was shocked that many up here had even heard about the Amendment. Then it hit me that these signs probably were in yards of teachers, administrators, and school officials. These were yards where I had never before seen a political yard sign.

Amazing to me, the opposition to this by the education lobby. I now think that in areas like this, where there is no built in demand for charters, uninformed voters will just vote NO, based on neighborhood yard signs and word of mouth. Most people I think Vote No anyway, when they do not understand what is at stake. It will go down, I believe, which is a shame, because in some areas, people are trapped in poorly performing and managed schools with unsympathetic school boards.

Jake Brake

October 26th, 2012
8:13 pm

Yes ,and all these extra schools will cost $$$$$$.Guess where this money will come from.


October 26th, 2012
8:28 pm

Kyle, are you getting desperate? I don’t know what most recent report shows for pro-Amendment forces, but in September report it was about $500,000, mostly from out-of-state. At least that is what AJC said and I know you wouldn’t work for dishonest employer. And the anti folks are only now exceeding $100,000 with most from in-state sources. Just say you are sorry for distortion and we will forgive you if you promise not to do it again.


October 26th, 2012
9:00 pm

@YouLibs, you are way off base…our state charter school is 99% black with over half free/reduced price lunch. We have the kids many public schools (like Gwinnett) try to push off to alternative schools. Don’t insult the intelligence of the public with your statements that aren’t backed with facts.


October 26th, 2012
9:02 pm

Dear Kyle,
The union leaders stayed home tonight to comment…you are threatening their gravy train. How dare you!

another voice

October 26th, 2012
9:42 pm

Follow the money? Are you kidding? Did you not read the article in your own newspaper today about the money supporting passage of this ammendment?

Let’s see…34 current or former superintendents at $470 (avg) each, 30 other schpool adminstrative types at $467 (avg) each, 11 school board members at $364 (avg) each, and 10 principals at $257 (avg) each. The cost of taking a family of four to one Braves game complete with hot dog, sodas, parking and a souvenir – $200. The amount given by these educators in opposition to the passage of ammendment #1 is relatively small. That is especially so when considering the money given by individuals supporting the ammendment. Six individual donors in support of the ammendment gave respectively: $350K, $250K, $250K, $250K, $100k, $20K. Follow the money indeed! And where does the money trail lead? Mostly beyond the geographical boundaries of the state of Georgia.


October 26th, 2012
9:48 pm

@another voice stop changing your user name…

another voice

October 26th, 2012
10:03 pm

@DeKalb Parent the above is my first post

Mary Elizabeth

October 26th, 2012
10:14 pm

The Amendment 1 issue is not a matter of “turf” sustaining with me but about sustaining public education equally for all students through public taxes, and about keeping those who have an ideological agenda, like ALEC, from having its political influence in dismantling traditional public schools for quasi-private public schools in which private companies are frequently paid for profit to manage these schools.

The two sponsors of HR 1162 which became the charter-schools amendment, Representatives Jan Jones and Edward Lindsey, are not only members of Georgia’s House Education Committee but they are also members of ALEC. Rep. Jones is, also, on the Education Task Force in ALEC.


From the 10/25/12 front page AJC article by Nancy Badertscher, entitled “Charter school dispute began in Gwinnett,” are the following final words regarding the economics involved in establishing charter schools, “despite reports indicating that, as a whole, most (charter schools) perform no better than traditional public schools,” according to Badertscher:

“Barge, the state school superintendent, has said that if more charters are approved, lawmakers will have to come up with more money.

If the new commission approves only seven charters a year – the average approved under the now-defunct Georgia Charter Schools Commission – that extra costs for five years will be about $430 million, he said.”

Taxpayers should expect their taxes to increase at some point in time, imo, if Amendment 1 passes and the growth of state charter schools increases. Factors such as the cost of a traditional public school building’s upkeep and maintenance including custodial service, grounds management, and utilities’ costs, as well as the salaries of whole school personnel who are not effected by the numbers of students in the school, such as Media Specialists and Food and Lunchroom Managers will continue even – if some students leave for charter schools.

I will be voting NO to Amendment 1, primarily because I believe that Amendment 1 is more politically based than educationally based.


October 26th, 2012
10:36 pm

Mary Elizabeth:

Great cut and paste job! I’ve seen you post the same info before. I understand that you oppose passage of the amendment, but don’t you think if we have all read it once, it is sufficient?


October 26th, 2012
10:39 pm


I posted something to you on Kyle’s previous column blog, if you want to go back and read it. Probably is the last post made there.


October 26th, 2012
10:42 pm

And you need to follow the money for the amendment. Chip Rogers is the Treasurer for ALEC – one of the groups supporting and campaigning for passage of the amendment. Another group has a local sounding name, but funds are not local. .
From the article in the AJC By Wayne Washington

“A second amendment supporter, Georgia Public School Families for Amendment One, raised $55,000. Despite the group’s name, all of its money came from a single donation made by of Arlington, Va.


October 26th, 2012
10:43 pm

Are you kidding me??? Have you seen the donations for the pro-side?? $600,000 from Alice Walton? What does she in Arkansas have to gain for helping kids in GA? What about all these foreign and out of state for-profit schools? Hundreds of thousands of dollars. Let me tell you folks, people don’t give that kind of money and use these kind of tactics if there isn’t some serious profit to be made. Plus I thought Republicans were for less government.

teaching taxpayer

October 26th, 2012
10:45 pm

I would be happy to vote for Amendment 1 if it created an ELECTED board to rule on charter appeals rather than a board APPOINTED from Nathan Deal’s cronies. We voters should have a chance to see what the board decides and then, as appropriate, vote the bums out or reelect them.

Kyle, why have you abandoned the small “d” democratic and small “c” conservative principle of people empowered to spend TAXPAYER dollars being accountable to those taxpayers? Are you that much of a boot licker for Nathan Deal?


October 26th, 2012
10:53 pm

Republicans want to see EFFECTIVE use of tax dollars. Our local BOEs are not delivering that. Why would corporations want to move companies to Georgia if there are no educated employees to work there. Duh!

Jane W.

October 26th, 2012
11:38 pm

Kyle, a heads-up. Union money finds its way into many uses as they try desperately to prevent expansion of charter schools.

One is to hire bloggers, writing under multiple pseudonyms, to flood online forums with cut & paste union arguments against education reform. I recognize some of them—and their above spiel—from another AJC blog run by an anti-choice zealot.

Mary Elizabeth

October 26th, 2012
11:42 pm

cc, 10:39 pm

“Mary Elizabeth: Great cut and paste job! I’ve seen you post the same info before. I understand that you oppose passage of the amendment, but don’t you think if we have all read it once, it is sufficient?”

I will address your post tonight and, thereafter, I doubt that I will respond to your posts to me again because you have shown a penchant for indulging too often in such pettiness as you wrote, above, for my sensibilities to value.

Not everyone who reads this blog also reads Jim Galloway’s blog. The first part of my post is original tonight although I have shared some facts from it previously, and the second part of my post is lifted from my post yesterday on Galloway’s blog. I do not assume that all of the readers of this blog and Galloway’s blog are the same people. I am interested in reaching as many readers as possible. The newpaper excerpt, which is contained within the second part of my 10:14 pm post, is available to online readers of both blogs only because I took the time to type that excerpt, myself, from yesterday’s paper edition of Ms. Badertscher’s article in the the AJC. Her article was not published online and I felt that citizens who do not subscribe to the AJC’s paper edition should, also, have the opportunity to read part of reporter Nancy Badertscher’s excellent article. You may find that I will, also, post part of that article, later, to the reading audiences of Maureen Downey’s blog and/or Jay Bookman’s blog, if those two journalists post another thread on the charter-schools amendment.

Please feel free to scroll past my posts.


October 27th, 2012
12:00 am

Let me get this straight, Kyle’s saying that the money for the anti-charter school campaign is coming from the anti-charter school constituency, and that the money for the pro-charter school campaign is coming from the pro-charter school constituency. So it’s a transfer of wealth thing? It’s free market capitalism unleashed on our student’s future? Privatize education? Sell stock in the ventures? Talk about an incentive for cheating.

Vote no to vote yes on the Charter School Amendment. Or is it vote yes to vote no? The amendment is worded in a counter-intuitive near-riddle. The wording makes the voters think that if they vote no, our schools would go full Hunger Games.


October 27th, 2012
2:07 am

If these numbers don’t rise to the levels you’ve read about for the pro-amendment side, it’s because Families for Better Public Schools raised $1.79 million in the same time frame – $1.38 million of which came from outside Georgia.

I want to know what these groups did for schools in their own state, that their own kids attend before deciding we need to change the Georgia Constitution.

Gimme Gimme Gimme

October 27th, 2012
3:32 am

cc@10:36 “Mary Elizabeth: Great cut and paste job!”

Mary Elizabeth is always quite impressed with herself.


October 27th, 2012
3:33 am

My primarly concern over legislaton is the potential funneling of taxpayer dollars to schools run by the three biggest cults in America – Southern Baptists, Pentacostals and the Assembly of God. And I’m defining cult as any sect in which 75% or more of its members believing the Bible is word-for-word true, and 75% or more of its members believing they are have a free ticket to paradise because they’ve been born-again.

“The clergy believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” Thomas Jefferson, 1800.


October 27th, 2012
6:11 am

Most of the pro-amendment donors seem to be from companies and individuals associated with companies that run for profit schools, or provide products, such as software, teaching plans, etc. to schools. $50k from whiich is Georgia Public School Families for Amendment One.
A Joel Hug who is listed as Chairman of the Board at Georgia Public School Families for Amendment One works for Excent (Global Education Technologies) that provides software for schools.Get has contracts with the state DoE.

Alisa Hug, (Joel’s wife) is listed as Georgia, Director of, and also listed as Board President of Georgia Connections Academy, funded by the state.
It seems like sort of an incestuous relationship with the state, contractors, and the supporters of Amendment1.
You might think twice about lecturing that a teacher who gives $50 is trying to game the system when the big buck supporters are getting away with this.

Karl Marx

October 27th, 2012
6:35 am

Indeed It’s not about the kids at all is it. What it is about is keeping their power and to heck with the kids. I’m voting YES


October 27th, 2012
7:19 am

Any post referring to opponents that want to “Protect quality public education in Georgia” makes me laugh. Georgians have no clue what a good education looks like because we have all been shielded from it by the monopoly for the past 60 years or more. When the free market and education entrepreneurs, both for profit and non-profit, enter the Georgia marketplace, we will all have amazing options available to us. Parents making a choice will actually mean something for the first time in Georgia education. I hope a lot of very smart businessmen build great schools and compete for the kids with parents that care enough to make a good choice for their children. Yes, many parents don’t care enough to worry about it, but why should all the other parents and their kids be punished by the establishment for “EQUALITY” when the equality is such a low standard.


October 27th, 2012
7:37 am

More charter schools, vouchers–all ways to eviscerate the public school system. The Repugs have never made any attempt to hide their agenda. What we have to do as voters is think about the motives behind this agenda. I am not an educator so I have no vested interest. But here’s what I believe. Right wing, religious nuts hijacked my Republican Party a long time ago. They want to keep as many kids out of public schools as possible, because having an electorate that is educated and can think on their own is terrifying to them. With vouchers and charters, they can use our tax money to supplement payments to the “right” private schools. The “right” charter schools will be created. Here’s how it will work. An upper middle class or upper class family that is already sending little Treys to the Christian school, will get a voucher, paid for with public tax money. Little Trey will continue going to his school but mommy and daddy will not have to pay so much out of pocket. Now a low income family will get a voucher for the same amount. It doesn’t cover the whole cost of a private school, and they can’ t come up with the difference. They don’t win the “lottery” for the charter school that sounds so good on paper. These private and charter schools don’t have to take the difficult students. These students stay in a public school system that has even fewer resources than they had before Sonny stole billions from the education budget. When Evans are done, the charter schools, with no “bad” students look super. The public schools that can’t afford the technology and good teachers get bad evaluations. Repugs–brainless,brazen manipulators that they are will say,”See! We told you so!” If religious nuts and too good to go to public school people want private schools, pay for them out of your pocket. Politicians, stop kowtowing to your religious nuts and fund our public schools. All this crap about teachers unions is just that–crap! You listen to Boortz and Hannity too much. Get up off your butts and go visit some of the public schools and see what these teachers have to deal with and figure out how to facilitate their jobs–not make them more difficult.


October 27th, 2012
7:39 am

“Evans” above was supposed to be evaluations…gotta love IPad’s autocorrect.


October 27th, 2012
7:47 am

i would still like to see kyle address the high probability of a new state gommint bureaucracy if this amendment passes. his continued silence on this issue is quite deafening.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

October 27th, 2012
8:06 am

“i would still like to see kyle address the high probability of a new state gommint bureaucracy if this amendment passes. his continued silence on this issue is quite deafening.”

Gee, spaceman, they’re creating one stinkin’ appeals board with this amendment. That’s it.

Why do you even remotely think there is a bureaucracy in the works?

Reason is lost on opponents of this amendment.

“These private and charter schools don’t have to take the difficult students.”

Uh, DeborahinAthens? Private, no. Charter, yes, they do.

Mary Elizabeth

October 27th, 2012
8:11 am

DeborahinAthens, 7:37 am

Well said, DeborahinAthens, in terms of what will happen to traditional public schools if the charter movement does not have specific boundaries and limitations on charter schools. I would add that it is not only the “religious right” that has this interest in charter schools, but middle to upper middle class parents of all races who wish to segregate themselves from those who are less fortunate, instead of working to improve traditional public schools from within. I would, also, add that some politicians have the possibility of accruing personal gain through supporting, in lockstep fashion, the ideological agenda of those of greater wealth and power in our nation who wish to dismantle traditional public schools for schools of a “free market” model in which these powerful few can tap into the billions of dollars of public tax money spent to educate all of the children in America.

dabir dalton

October 27th, 2012
8:13 am

Kyle republicans have been tinkering with education here in Georgia for nearly 12 yrs now – for a lot longer then that on the national level – their primary tactic in their all out war on public schools has been to reduce funding and things have only gotten worse. Of course the republican plan all along has been to create an ever increasing crisis in our public school system in order to both justify and convince the public at large. To allow the republicans to not only continue to financially gut public education but to utterly destroy it and replace public schools with private – charter- schools created to promote religious dogma. While miss educating and churning out ignorant graduates programmed – brainwashed – into accepting conservative myths and outright lies as God’s own truth while making a profit for the corporations that own the schools. All on the public dime no less.


October 27th, 2012
8:25 am

At least the anti money is coming from instate and from people having a vested interest in maintaining public schools. Maybe some of their interest is in the school children.

The pro money is mostly out of state and from companies or people with ties to companies with profit as a principal interest or reinstating a milder form of segregation.

I have more confidence in my neighbors.

Disgusted in Dekalb

October 27th, 2012
8:29 am

The only question here is what is best for our kids. I have two beautiful daughters in Dekalb public schools and I’m digusted by what our school board does. My first thought about Dekalb and about the charter amendment is ‘is anyone thinking about the chilldren?’.

Kyle, do you have kids? If so, where do they go to school?
If not, you need to stay out of the discussion because you have NO skin in the game.

I’d be interested in how many posters here have kids in the public school system. These discussions make me sick to my stomach because there’s no real mention of our kids, its all about the power and the money and ideology.

The State of Georgia guts our school systems and now wants to bring in corporations to run ‘charter schools’ with no oversight at all. Why is that?

The State broke our school systems and they need to fix what we have. Its all easy to talk about discarding the current system and starting fresh, but what about the KIDS. And its about ALL our children, not the select few who can attend the charter schools. Its already embarassing to see where Georgia education ranked against the rest of the states. You’d think that alone would shame our state government and local school boards into doing something.

There are so many pathetic issues with the State Government and how our elected officials run things, maybe we need to outsource our representatives and the governor. I think I’d vote for that amendment.


October 27th, 2012
8:41 am

Gimme Gimme Gimme@3:32 am:

That’s self-evident, isn’t it?


October 27th, 2012
8:45 am

“Kyle, do you have kids? If so, where do they go to school?
If not, you need to stay out of the discussion because you have NO skin in the game.”

Kyle has, as you phrase it, “skin in the game” whether or not he has children. He is paying taxes to educate the little darlings who aren’t being educated in the government indoctrination centers.


October 27th, 2012
8:47 am

These companies and individuals are supporting the “anti-ammendment charter campaign” because they don’t want to see the majority of charter schools teaching creationism and calling evolution and astromony “lies from the pit of hell”.


October 27th, 2012
8:48 am

The new F bomb has to be Frankenstorm. The new C word has to be Ann Coulter. The new N word is Neanderthal. And guess what? White folks have a shockingly large percentage of their DNA that is all up in the Neanderthal. There is according to NOVA only one population group that don’t have no Neanderthal in them no how. Gee, who could it be. I don’t know, no n-words come to mind. Cant think of a single minority. Could it be…….. Think about it. Whites are the n words: Neanderthals. Make that a capital N. Scientists say that our Neanderthal DNA helps with our immune system, and contributes to the flexibility required to oppose our thumbs, keep our balance, and stick our heads up our own behinds. I haven’t been able to confirm the NOVA report on line, and I’m too much of a lazy Neanderthal to do so. But the idea is that some Africans never ventured out of the continent and thus were never contaminated with Neanderthal DNA. 80K years ago was when all the white folk were bumping uglies with all that free Neanderthal trim. I’ve never heard this theory before, and so it must be a result of the latest data about our genome. So, I’m all for the Charter School ammendment, because it’s time Georgia provide a separate but equal school system to keep the Neanderthals out of our public schools.

get out much?

October 27th, 2012
8:52 am

I am just waiting for the wailing and gnashing of teeth when the first Madrasa applies for charter school status.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

October 27th, 2012
8:52 am

“The State broke our school systems and they need to fix what we have. ”

Oh, the “state” broke our school systems, but you’re disgusted with your local school board, DeKalb?

Stop blaming the state and look a bit more inward to you and your county. You people crack me up. You want local control, but don’t want to foot the bill for your schools. You cry out for state and Federal dollars, then complain about the strings and mandates attached.

Oh, and DeKalb? Anybody who is forced to pay school taxes, no matter if they have kids in school or not, has skin in the game.

Refresh my memory

October 27th, 2012
8:53 am

What was the Georgia tax break where you could donate money for tuition to private schools? I vaguely remember a video with a politician telling wealthy parents how to apply and receive the funds that were supposedly for at risk kids.

Refresh my memory

October 27th, 2012
8:54 am

Edward Lindsey heads up which pro group?