Sam Olens orders local school boards to stay out of charter school fight

Attorney General Sam Olens this afternoon sent a letter to state School Superintendent John Barge, in which Olens ordered all local school boards to shut down any opposition to the proposed state constitutional amendment on charter schools that involves official time or taxpayer funds.

Olens’ ruling applies to school boards that endorse the measure as well. But by and large, local boards of education, particularly in rural Georgia, have been firmly against the November ballot measure. Many have passed resolutions condemning it.

Read the entire letter here. Wrote Olens:

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. They may not do this directly or indirectly through associations to which they may belong….

That means organizations like the Georgia School Boards Association, and perhaps, the Georgia School Superintendents Association, would be barred from speaking out against the proposed constitutional amendment.

Exactly who would enforce this neutrality appears to be an unsettled matter. Writes Olens:

You have also requested that I advise you regarding any duty that may exist to take enforcement action against local school boards that have violated this prohibition. I will provide that advice in a subsequent letter.

Emmet Bondurant, an Atlanta attorney who litigated one of the cases cited by Olens as a precedent, sent us this analysis of the attorney general’s opinion:

By his use of the term “indirectly, ” the AG’s letter means only that a local school board could not directly pay for an advertisement for or against an referendum, nor could it use public funds to pay for an advertisement indirectly, by funneling the funds through a third-party organization of which the local school board may, or may not be a member.

This does not mean, however, that local school board members may not speak out and advocate for or against ratification of a ballot measure. The Harrington case, which is the leading case cited in the AG’s opinion, makes that point crystal clear.

Note also that the AG’s opinion applies not only to local school boards, but also to charter schools that receive public funds as well. Although not mentioned in the opinion, the ban on the use of public funds to influence the outcome of an election or referendum, applies with equal force to Governor Deal and other state officials.

Given Glen Delk’s recent threats, I think that it is especially important that the narrowness of the AG’s opinion be made clear to local school board officials, as prohibiting only the expenditure of public funds and resources, and that it does not prohibit local superintendents or school board members from speaking out and campaigning against the charter school amendment.

I also want to point out that although the AG’s ruling is correct, it creates an political imbalance in the campaign for the hearts and minds of voters, by prohibiting local school boards from spending public funds to protect their autonomy and the diversion of public funds to charter schools, while allowing the for-profit charter schools, and wealthy ideologues like Mrs. Walton, to spend unlimited amounts of private funds on TV, print and direct mails aimed at persuading voters to ratify the amendment….

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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132 comments Add your comment

Shar

October 3rd, 2012
4:52 pm

Does this mean that the “100% of Georgia’s charter schools” that have pledged financial support to the pro-amendment forces are similarly muzzled?

Boy, Deal and Rogers will do anything, use any power at hand and promise anything to get this terrible – but terribly lucrative – amendment passed.

Holly Jones

October 3rd, 2012
4:56 pm

@Shar- I was wondering the same thing as I read this. So, the Georgia Charter Schools Association should be warned as well. Where is that letter, AG Olens?

Lynn43

October 3rd, 2012
5:03 pm

Why don’t we send the governor and Mr. Rogers a letter. The governor went “during the day” to bully the Gwinnette Chamber of Commerce who opposed the amendment and had a fund raiser planned for the opposition. The day after the governor’s speech, they went neutral and cancelled their fundraiser. I’m sure the governor didn’t drive himself. This visit was financed by taxpayer money. Mr. Olens, where is the governor’s letter.

Dean

October 3rd, 2012
5:04 pm

With 94% of their funds coming form out of state, I doubt Sam’s memo would have much of an impact.

Ron F.

October 3rd, 2012
5:09 pm

If this is the case, then the charter supporters who work for any entity receiving state funds would also be barred. I suspect there will be a flurry of legal action about this, and rightly so. If those working in the charter industry are allowed to spread money around and campaign for it, then those opposed who also receive state funds have the right to campaign against it.

Kris

October 3rd, 2012
5:14 pm

I smell a dirty rotten stinking DEAL…

This boondoggle needs to be nipped in the bud (Barny Fife commander of all police).

This is a POCKET lining SCAM for double DEAL/rogers and poor SAM is the puppet.

@ Shar “Boy, Deal and Rogers will do anything, use any power at hand and promise anything to get this terrible – but terribly lucrative – amendment passed.

Amen.

I will protest put signs in my Yard against this SCAM. Impeach DEAL recall Rogers.

God Bless President OBAMA .

OBAMA/Biden 2012

Bob Loblaw

October 3rd, 2012
5:14 pm

Dear AG Olens,

You will need the teachers support in your re-election and your run for Governor. They have long memories.

Yours truly,

Roy Barnes

Kris

October 3rd, 2012
5:17 pm

Any one know how to contact the group opposing this Charter School SCAM?

Is there a Group organized to recall DEAL?

crankee-yankee

October 3rd, 2012
5:17 pm

Big government is flexing its muscles all in the guise of “smaller government.”
The hypocrisy is delicious.

Raquel Morris

October 3rd, 2012
5:19 pm

@Holly Jones,

The Georgia Charter Schools Association is not a government agency.

Shar

October 3rd, 2012
5:20 pm

The Koch brothers are bankrolling a chunk of this, and their ALEC subsidiary has written the bills that their lap dog Chip Rogers has done everything he could to push through. Now, stymied by the Georgia Supreme Court, he is doing an end run so Nobody Gets In The Koch’s Way.

The Koches don’t live here, and they don’t have to live with the bad educational results, but they sure are set on laying claim to Georgia’s taxpayer dollars through contracts that will be handed out by the Legislature. Why didn’t we get rid of Rogers when we had the chance?

DJ Sniper

October 3rd, 2012
5:22 pm

Something is definitely rotten in Denmark. Where is it written that local school boards are required to support charter schools? I’ll bet my last $20 that if these same boards were in favor of charter schools, Mr. Olens and company would be all in favor for it.

DannyX

October 3rd, 2012
5:24 pm

“Does this mean that the “100% of Georgia’s charter schools” that have pledged financial support to the pro-amendment forces are similarly muzzled?”

As usual Shar is right on the mark. Great question.

Scrivener

October 3rd, 2012
5:29 pm

Sam Olens is a hundred percent right on this. Koch Brothers? Really? That’s getting to be as much of a joke as “it’s Bush’s fault.”

jconservative

October 3rd, 2012
5:32 pm

Thanks for the heads up Sam. I will be sure to vote NO.

April

October 3rd, 2012
5:38 pm

I bet all the negative comments are from 99% from teachers afraid of options in education

Public School Parent

October 3rd, 2012
5:39 pm

Sam Olens, you just lost my vote and any remaining shred of credibility.

3schoolkids

October 3rd, 2012
5:42 pm

Does that mean Nancy Jester must also take down the link to her blog on the Dekalb School Board website?

The old Georgia Charter School Commission website (was archived on Georgia.gov) is gone as well. Now no one can research the decisions they made from 2008 to 2011. Wonder who is behind that?

Charter Parent

October 3rd, 2012
5:42 pm

Good call, Sam.

GA Citizen

October 3rd, 2012
5:46 pm

What happened to the reasonable, judicious Chairman of the Cobb County Commission? Wow, ambition turns people into something ugly.

Kris Jones

October 3rd, 2012
5:49 pm

GOOD!
Vote for the Mormon NOT the Moron!!!

Trip

October 3rd, 2012
5:50 pm

I am not sure why some readers think that charter schools are some big business conspiracy. Most charters are non profit corporations set up similar to a hospital (like Piedmont). The real story here is that local school boards are using tax dollars to lobby against a constitutional amendment. Charter schools are not owned by the government and are not using government funds to lobby the public. Charters receive some of their funding from local school boards but many receive grants from prestigious and not so well known charities and foundations.

JDW

October 3rd, 2012
5:51 pm

I was leaning against the amendment and now I am over the edge. I do find it strange :roll: that there was no mention of a ban on supporting the amendment.

Sandra

October 3rd, 2012
5:52 pm

Sounds like absolute blackmail to me…but that is the way our state works. And no I am not a teacher but I think it is absolutely ludicrous to give private entities who will have NO accountability money to ‘educate’ our children. There are other ways to do this. Our state legislature is looking to continue to line their pockets and have their children attend private school for free. Chip Rogers….what a guy! I just don’t understand how people vote for this man.
Of course, in Georgia, you don’t really get any choices. It’s the ones with the biggest pocketbooks.

JDW

October 3rd, 2012
5:53 pm

@Trip…”charters are non profit corporations set up similar to a hospital ”

Then let them work with the local school baords to create a charter that works rather than making an end run to the state.

*

October 3rd, 2012
5:54 pm

CHARTER SCHOOL SAVED MY SON!

I’ve lived every parent’s nightmare in the public school system. When you’ve gone through what we’ve gone through, you mud slingers will change your tune. Charter schools are not taking over. Charter schools are not doing a disservice to anyone. If a charter school does not perform, it will be shut down. Now, how many county schools in Clayton County or City of Atlanta have been shut down due to poor performance? Charter schools are competition to the monopoly BOE’s. Competition brings change, and you better get your heads out of the sand if you think this state, and this country, does not need it.

Joseph Wilson

October 3rd, 2012
5:58 pm

Sam Olens must have got his law degree from one of discount online universities without accreditation. His opinion would not hold up in federal court as it is a violation of free speech. Republicans take a page from the Communist Manifesto.

Dunwoody Mom

October 3rd, 2012
5:59 pm

What about school board members that use their school board websites to promote the Charter School Amendment?

CG Jones

October 3rd, 2012
5:59 pm

Visit http://www.votesmartgeorgia.com to see a Fact Sheet concerning this amendment as well as myths vs facts surrounding the change to the state constitution. There is also a link to donate to the group to help off set the millions of dollars coming from out of state to to support this amendment.

STINKY

October 3rd, 2012
6:00 pm

Well, Deal, Olens, and Rogers just made up a boat load (no pun intended) of voters’ minds here. Further, Charter schools do receive taxpayer dollars, so of course, they should be held to the same standards….The Gwinnett Chamber is a wuss…….

Wallis the dog

October 3rd, 2012
6:01 pm

Galloway, you old capon, since the dawn of time school boards have sent kids home from school clutching propaganda in favor of school bond indebtedness to deliver to their parents. I am thankful for this small check on inappropriate political activity by government employees.

Dunwoody Mom

October 3rd, 2012
6:01 pm

Nothing but pure bullying on the part of the Charter School Amendment supporters.

Old timer

October 3rd, 2012
6:02 pm

Travesty here….taking power from local boards…to give to state cronies…..

**

October 3rd, 2012
6:03 pm

Amen *…sounds like these teacher’s union posts above know there time is limited…we have good teachers and bad and continually fall in rank vs the world…we are the laughing stock…cut the fat out of Atlanta city schools, cut the central office…PLEASE!

Old timer

October 3rd, 2012
6:05 pm

Travesty here….taking power from local boards…to give to state cronies…..And …I am a retired teacher who believes in the charter idea and school choice. I just do not want another politically appointed board…not accountable to the public. Set up an appeals process through the state board of education.

NOTO#1

October 3rd, 2012
6:05 pm

I find it interesting that the governor can go to Gwinnett, be the keynote speaker for the kickoff banquet for the Charter Amendment effort and yet school board members no less duly elected by the people than him cannot open their mouth nor potentially their organization? It seems disparate that it is all right for Senator Chip Rogers to speak what he thinks about the amendment in his official capacity but local board members in Cherokee County cannot? I am thinking there are a lot of scared people on the other side of this issue if they are willing to stoop to such a low level.

Dunwoody Mom

October 3rd, 2012
6:06 pm

WSBTV just had an interview with that sleezebag Glenn Delk. He indicated if school boards who issued official statements against the amendement do not now issue statements saying they are neutral he will sue those boards. But, hey, it’s all for the children, right??

CG Jones

October 3rd, 2012
6:08 pm

“*” Not every parent has nightmares about public schools. I am a parent with 2 children in public schools and I am exceptionally pleased with the education that my children are receiving. The opposition to this amendment is not opposition to charter schools. I think there are charter schools out there who are doing a fine job, as well as charters that are not doing a great job (not unlike public schools). The opposition is about taking control away from local governments, creating a government entity that does not answer to any constituency, duplicating a duty that is already been given to the State Board of Education (who does answer to voters) and creating another layer of government (the new State Charter Schools) that will either create millions more in tax obligations to fund the schools, or will more than likely further erode local public school budgets that have already been slashed billions of dollars over the last 8 years.

This is not about opposing Charter Schools, this is about supporting public schools and keeping local control over the education of children.

The Truth

October 3rd, 2012
6:08 pm

If anyone other than bloggers read this…folks, please know that there is a large “secret” network of people devoted to blogging on every news site in this state to undermine the charter amendment. I’ve seen it in action, and it’s disgusting.

3schoolkids

October 3rd, 2012
6:11 pm

Charter schools are government schools! They get their funding from TAX DOLLARS! So, I am fully expecting Sam Olens to investigate all of the charter schools that belong to the Georgia Charter Schools Association and pay a membership fee to determine if those fees were paid with tax dollars. Also, I expect all charter board’s email accounts be checked to see if any taxpayer dollars were used to campaign for the amendment. How about all of the schools that participated in making the movie “Making The Grade”? Were any school resources used, was it filmed during school hours, did charter school teachers and administrators use any “government” time on the film?

Ivy Prep has parent sessions regarding the amendment listed on their website, are they using government funds to run their website? How about students that participated in rallies at the Capitol during school hours? Were their absences excused?

*

October 3rd, 2012
6:11 pm

So, because your kids have a decent school, forget the rest of them? When “local governments” are only self-serving and scurrying like a cat in a litter box to cover their mess?

Thank Goodness for Charter Schools

October 3rd, 2012
6:11 pm

April has nailed it on the head. Very sad and shameful GA Teachers! Thought it was about the kids, until we entered the public school realm. It is all about power and control of the local school system school boards and the unionized/tenured/retirement worried teachers. Let’s focus on who is against it and why?? READ UP ON THE AMENDMENT, State Approved Charter Schools will not take from the local school systems. In fact, the county will still get my two kids 10/12 grand whether they go to the districted school or not. In other words, you are still taking my tax dollars and putting it towards your establishment/system you call a school. Talk about greed! County schools have no accountability when it comes to failure rates. If they fail, so be it. If a Charter fails, it is held accountable. Us parents are sick of being bullied by local school boards and teachers that no longer deserve to teach. We are on to you and are on a mission to take education back in GA. We are 49th in the nation. From the way some of you are speaking, you would think we are the cream of the crop for education. Sue me for wanted better for my kids!

Luny

October 3rd, 2012
6:12 pm

Whether the schools themselves receive gov’t money or not, the Georgia Charter School Association is a private 501(c)(3) and don’t receive gov’t money, so no, they would not be muzzled. Further, no one said the local school boards had to support charter schools, they were told they could not support either side and must remain neutral. I’m still trying to figure out why the local school boards and teacher’s unions are so opposed to charter schools. If it is all about educating the children, what difference does it matter where they are educated? Personally, I would like to return to the way education was handled prior to the compulsory education laws that were pushed by progressives in the 1920’s, ’30’s and ’40’s. Schools were run by LOCAL governments, not the state and certainly not the federal government.

There is an excellent book by John Taylor Gatto that discusses this in depth called “Dumbing us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling”

3schoolkids

October 3rd, 2012
6:17 pm

Glenn Delk is not just pro choice, he is pro voucher. Doesn’t really matter if the amendment passes, if it doesn’t they will just go straight to voucher legislation next year.

This from the man who tried unsuccessfully 20 years ago to resurrect forgotten “anti-integration” legislation to force school boards to pay private tuition for students who wanted out of the school system.

Dunwoody Dad

October 3rd, 2012
6:18 pm

Hey Dunwoody Mom,

You said “What about school board members that use their school board websites to promote the Charter School Amendment?” I assume you reference Nancy Jester’s personal blog and web site? Nancy, who has worked hard to uncover the corruption in your district, can speak all she wants on her personal blog (there is no such thing as a school board member website). And Gene Walker can continue to write Op-Ed pieces for the biased Champion newspaper as a resident of DeKalb. What the Atty Gen says is that a school board cannot put out a statement, but the individual members can. You don’t lose your rights when you become a public office holder.

jane langley

October 3rd, 2012
6:19 pm

Charter schools get local funding. Charter schools get state funding. What happened to dissent in a democracy? Yes, the Gov and his people shut down the Gwinnett Chamber. And GA’s technical colleges. And took photos of license plates when the opposition had a meeting. Deal, Rogers, Jan Jones, Alisha Morgan (and her husband who lobbies for one of these out of state corporations) can campaign for the amendment and those who are opposed are threatened and bullied. Follow the money, money, money.

Yes, the Kochs – and for profit corporations itching to make money here are funding this. Look at the most recent financial disclosure reports. And while you’re at it, check out all the FBI investigations into these corporations. Not one word in the legislation requiring – or suggesting -parental involvement.

GA already has choices. They’re called public, private, charter (yes, charter), magnet and home schools. What taxpayer wants to spend $1 million/year to pay for this small (7 people) group appointed by the Gov to make decisions about schools? Not me.

Read what the opposition says on its still-allowed web site: http://www.votesmartgeorgia.com. And vote NO.

RD

October 3rd, 2012
6:21 pm

Trip, you say that Charter Schools are not big business? Then why pray tell are out of state for profit charter school corporations spending millions to help pass the amendment?

But now Olens is preventing School Board Associations from exercising their right to disagree with Dirty Deal and Slick Rogers? So it’s ok for the power brokers to ram the amendment down our throats without opposition?

You realize that the Georgia prison system is gradually being turned over to for profit corporations and now our schools are headed in that direction.

Deal, Rogers, & Jan Jones pockets are being lined by ALEC, Charter Schools Corporations, Prison Inc. etc. I don’t like either Rep or Demo I just detest corruption. Please check for yourself http://www.alec.org to see the agenda and how ALEC is writing legislation for our elected officials to push their agenda NOT the will of the people of Georgia.

You may want to start stocking up on Brown Shirts and Jack Boots. Peace

Dunwoody Mom

October 3rd, 2012
6:23 pm

Oh, I see, The Champion is biased, but Nancy’s website is not. Gotcha….

I find it very troubling that a sitting board of education member would advocate for legislation that would take further money away from the school children she/he professes to represent.

Of course, since my last few email’s have not been answered, I guess grudges are held if constitutent views clash?

Gwinnett Tax Payer

October 3rd, 2012
6:24 pm

Ivy Prep in Gwinnett has a huge page dedicated to supporting the amendment. My tax dollars fund that school. Shouldn’t that page be taken down since it is not neutral?

CG Jones

October 3rd, 2012
6:24 pm

Hey **, do a little research before you start making totally uneducated remarks about teachers unions. First of all look around, there are no teachers unions in the state of Georgia, or any other state in the southeast. There are teachers associations and organizations, but these groups have no union affiliation or power to negotiate with employers over compensation, benefits, work environment, etc. See if you can find a sample teacher “contract” for any teacher in the state. They basically have the teachers over a barrel in a take or leave it position. So you won’t see any teachers holding strikes in Georgia. If they did, they would be fired on the spot.

As is so typical these days, teachers are made out to be the villans in all of these situations when in reality they are the ones that actually have the least amount of power or influence to change anything. You want to see change in education? Then work to empower the teachers to have more control over how students are educated. They were trained, many with multiple degrees, to do this. I can tell you that Chip Rogers has never been trained as an educator or Deal for that matter.

Why don’t we have a charter police department available to citizens. Do you see how many people are speeding everyday and committing crimes. Obviously the police provided by government don’t know what they’re doing or else there would be no crime. So let’s take away their radios and guns and patrol cars and give them to provate security companies to wipe out crime in our state.

Sound crazy…?

M

October 3rd, 2012
6:24 pm

It’s the emperor’s new clothes all over again…no one is saying what might really be behind this fight for charter schools: people are upset that prayer has been taken out of school, and many are terrified their children will be in schools with poor people whether they be black, Hispanic, or white…

RecallDeal

October 3rd, 2012
6:30 pm

This is not about opposing Charter Schools. It’s about supporting PUBLIC schools. Deal keeps cutting money from public schools and then turns around and says the public schools are not doing their jobs so he wants to pull more money from them. He is setting public schools up for failure so he can show data supporting his cause. When you cut money from fire and police departments, what happens? It takes longer to respond to emergencies and they cannot do their jobs effectively. So should we cut more money from them as well? No. Deal, you will not be getting my vote in 2014 and I suspect you will not be getting the vote of many public school teachers as well. One former governor learned his lesson the hard way when he said he didn’t need teachers to get re-elected.

Jamal

October 3rd, 2012
6:36 pm

Government Schools…….The dumbing down of a once great nation!

Please Understand

October 3rd, 2012
6:38 pm

We are the parents who have lived the very thing you pretend does not apply to your child. We went to charter schools for a reason. Our children were suffering in the county system and there was no way out…until we had the charter option. Please let us do for our children what you may need to do for yours next year!

KIM

October 3rd, 2012
6:39 pm

I have warned about this amendment before. And I find it interesting that a previous blogger wrote about non-profits, …. Non-profits pay the high administrative salaries. They have to in order to avoid profit. Look at all of them. It is noble to say an entity is non-profit, but if you examine their books, you find why they are non-profit. Please vote NO to this amendment so charter schools will be private schools in sheep clothing, paid for by taxpayers and run by money grabbers.

Kelly

October 3rd, 2012
6:47 pm

It is Georgia law. Read the letter! It is clearly stated what money is to be spent on and it is not politics.

catlady

October 3rd, 2012
6:48 pm

How about the Governor, and the state legislators? Surely it applies to them as well.

Can we even “think” about it? What if we think about during school time (perhaps those 2 minutes a day in the bathroom?)

During the whole “red scare” back in the 50s and 60s, when everyone was made terrified to say anything for fear of being called a communist sympathizer, Brother Dave Gardner, Southern commedian, was asked, “Don’t you have to watch what you say?” and he replied, “No, I just watch what I think!”

Is there no end to this perfidy? Our ancestors are spinning!

Earnestly

October 3rd, 2012
7:11 pm

Don’t get confused, lots of folks have an axe to grind, whether they’re mad at a teacher and want to condemn all teachers or think there is some money to be made or saved by charter schools. Charter schools can offer an excellent educational option for some children. However, neither charter schools nor private school vouchers will be able to help the students who need it most. Access to education is determined by economic circumstance. Unless you build a charter school on their street, the neediest children will not be able to go to a charter school because there is no transportation. They also will not be able to go to private school even with a voucher. Private schools require quite an investment even beyond tuition.
This controversy is about politicians who have cut 4 billion from state schools in the last decade, but still want more. They think that if they create and privatize charter schools, they will be able to give less state money to schools, thereby allowing them to have more to use for their pet projects. That’s it, that’s all. Georgia’s students will lose again because it will take a decade to realize that private corporations know less about education than even the school boards we have now. All the “experts” arguing about it, just make it easier to obscure the true intent. Yes, I’m a teacher and I challenge anyone who disagrees with my opinion to go spend 20 years in a classroom and get back to me when you know what you’re talking about.

CRAIG

October 3rd, 2012
7:15 pm

How is this different than Attorney General Sam Olens sending out anti-Obama tweets during work hours?

What next (for display)

October 3rd, 2012
7:17 pm

It is sad if these rants opposing upholding the law by not using taxpayer money, resources or time on a ballot issue are 99% from teachers. They should have a better understanding of the issue and the wisdom of such laws. Where did they receive their so-called degrees???????

cc

October 3rd, 2012
7:18 pm

“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. They may not do this directly or indirectly through associations to which they may belong”

This is completely in line with the rules governing the conduct of state employees. Since public schools receive state funding which pays the salaries of teachers, why should they be governed differently than any other state employee? People who accept jobs for which they are paid by the taxpayer rightfully have no business attempting to impact the vote of the electorate on constitutional amendments.

The mere fact that someone is a school teacher does not make them wiser or more informed than the voters.

As much as many of you would rather say otherwise, the AG is correct in his ruling.

cc

October 3rd, 2012
7:20 pm

“How is this different than Attorney General Sam Olens sending out anti-Obama tweets during work hours?”

That would make the AG a patriot, as it does anyone who opposes the communist . . .

Dirty Dawg

October 3rd, 2012
7:21 pm

Olens…just another right-winger intent on channeling as much of the public budget/cash-flow to corporate oligarchs. Welcome to the total ‘outsourcing’ of Georgia…and if Romney and the Republicans manage to steal this election too, the outsourcing of America’s next.

Susan K.

October 3rd, 2012
7:22 pm

This seems very wrong and a typical GOP response. People want information and why wouldn’t they seek information from their local schools and/or school boards. Really muzzling information???? Voting no. Can’t vote in the affirmative for anything the GOP tries to muzzle. Won’t happen. Why is the state going to contribute 3.3 times per student to Charter schools than they currently contribute to a regular public school? If there is that kind of money lying around the state, give the money to our teachers…. and quit attempting to create private for-profit schools.

Hey,hey,hey Goodbye

October 3rd, 2012
7:22 pm

This is a great example of how the Republican party in our state is beginning to operate. You have to adhere to all tenants of the ‘platform’ or else you are ridiculed, belittled, threatened, and more. I think the party leaders have lost their minds and are going to see the Republican rule over politics in this state disappear before their eyes if they don’t start coming back to middle ground where most of us reside.

crankee-yankee

October 3rd, 2012
7:24 pm

It does not matter if the shingle states non-profit. Someone is making a profit somewhere. Whether it is the vendor of the curriculum materials, the curriculum per se, the janitorial services, the administrative consultants, the cafeteria suppliers, the out-sourced services, the textbook publishers, list is endless.

Remember what happened in Texas when they decided to buy the same texts for the entire state. Since Texas, overnight, became the largest market in the country, all the publishers started writing texts that would be “Texas Approved” thereby limiting choice for the rest of the country. We are still reaping the “benefits” of that.

Make no mistake, the profiteers are salivating over the thought of doing government business in a state with the questionable political ethics of Georgia.

Common Sense

October 3rd, 2012
7:24 pm

Tell him to stick his directive up his ass

Public School Parent

October 3rd, 2012
7:32 pm

This is not a Democrat or a Republican issue. This is what is best for Georgia students.

If you want the facts, visit http://www.VoteSmartGeorgia.com

Vote No on Amendment #1

The Charter School Amendment Proponents have raised over $486,750. $466,000 of that total came from sources outside Georgia and from charter school management firms.

http://www.VoteSmartGeorgia.com

Mary Elizabeth

October 3rd, 2012
7:34 pm

I called Georgia’s State Board of Education this morning and spoke to the Administrative Assistant to the Chief-of-Staff for the State Board of Education. Here are the facts as told to me by that Administrative Assistant: Georgia’s State Board of Education has now – and has had in the past – the power to establish state charter schools. The Constitutional Amendment has no bearing on Georgia’s State Board of Education’s authority to establish state charter schools. The State Board of Education is not taking a position on the Constitutional Amendment. I asked the Administrataive Assistant if the State Board of Education’s power to establish state charter schools would continue – into the future – whether, or not, the Constitutional Amendment passes. I was told that the authority of Georgia’s State Board of Education to establish state charter schools would continue into the future, regardless of the election’s results in November pertaining to the Constitutional Admendment regarding a State Commission for Charter Schools.

Thus, it remains my opinion that the Constitutional Amendment is unnecessary. Parents have presently another option of establishing a charter school when their local school district denies their request for a charter school. Parents can apply for a state charter school through the State Board of Education. I cannot help but wonder why some continue to assert that this Constitutional Amendment is necessary to give parents another option. Parents already have another option through the State Board of Education to establish a state charter school.

I highly suspect that this Constitutional Amendment is more political than it is educational. I, also, am wary of the fact that the State Commission of Charter Schools, which the Constitutional Amendment would confirm, would be composed only of members who are appointed, not elected by the public.

Disgusted with our reps and senators

October 3rd, 2012
7:35 pm

Trip, I have a bridge and some swamp land to sell you …. terribly mistaken, my friend.

RD

October 3rd, 2012
7:36 pm

CC, when did public employees including teachers lose their rights under the U.S. and GA Constitutions? Oh, I get it they lose their rights only if they oppose the ‘right’ side or should I say the Deal, Rogers or ALEC side. CC is your last name McCarthy?

CC follow the money this amendment is not about the children it’s about taxpayer money being funneled to for profit education corporations and our ALEC controlled politicians pockets.

You and Olens are WRONG with regards to stopping a School Board or Educator Associations from speaking out!! Bring it on ass wipe just because someone is ‘paid by the taxpayer’ does NOT MEAN THEY ARE NON CITIZENS or Slaves. Who, what, when and where they belong to with THEIR money and time is their business. For your information Federal, State, & Local employees pay taxes too and they vote.

crankee-yankee

October 3rd, 2012
7:38 pm

Thank Goodness for Charter Schools
October 3rd, 2012
6:11 pm

I suggest YOU read the amendment, most of what you espouse is not accurate.

I do not have a problem with Charter Schools, just the thought that the state can over-rule my local board’s decision about a Charter proposal.

Public School Parent

October 3rd, 2012
7:46 pm

A vote for Amendment #1 is a vote for higher property taxes.

Local School Board especially those in rural Georgia will have no choice but to raise property taxes to make up for the funds that go to these state created charter schools. For every $1 that goes to a regular public school student, these charter school students will get $2.50. This will come off the top of QBE funds going to local school boards. Look it up.

Look before I leap...

October 3rd, 2012
7:47 pm

With something as important as an amendment to the state constitution, I would think and hope that the legislature would encourage vigorous and open debate and then let the electorate decide.

But with the state AG attempting to muzzle one whole side of the debate under color of authority, then the whole thing starts to look a lot like a North Korean Presidential election.

catlady

October 3rd, 2012
7:50 pm

What’s next: University of Alabama, Florida State University, University of Georgia. But, even more important, almost 40 years of teaching. THAT’S what makes me knowledgeable, not the PhD!

Look before I leap...

October 3rd, 2012
7:52 pm

Mary Elizabeth
Your analysis seems to spot on.
I think the intent of the amendment is to make is easier for the charter school operators to bribe select elected officials in the dome than go around to all the individual school districts with wads of cash.

Charles Douglas Edwards

October 3rd, 2012
7:53 pm

I think that it is a very, very sad day for public education in the State of Georgia !!!

The public school system is the backbone of our state education system. The number one priority of the state education system should always be the public schools.

The proposed state constitutional amendment on charter schools will not be good in the long run for the people of the Georgia !!!

Charter schools will siphon off funds and resources that are badly needed by cash strapped school boards. They also add another layer of unelected administrators and people who want their charter school concerns addressed.

We are again headed toward a separate, divided and unequal educational system.

In order for the State of Georgia to reach its full potential we must always strive to give the best education possible to most people.

The public school system is our best option to achieve this goal.

The state constitutional amendment on charter schools should not be approved.

The great State of Georgia should be looking forward to the future rather than regressing back to separate and unequal school systems.

Big Hat

October 3rd, 2012
7:56 pm

End all public funding of education in GA. If the free market wants their stupid kids educated, they need to pay for it out of their own pockets, so dig deep, serfs. This means NO pre-K to college: no, none, zip, zero, nada, NO public money for public education! A stupid populous is an easily ruled populous.

sheepdawg

October 3rd, 2012
8:06 pm

the lying crooks never rest

Kris

October 3rd, 2012
8:08 pm

@ Lynn43
“Why don’t we send the governor and Mr. Rogers a letter. The governor went “during the day” to bully the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce who opposed the amendment and had a fund raiser planned for the opposition. The day after the governor’s speech, they went neutral and cancelled their fundraiser. I’m sure the governor didn’t drive himself. This visit was financed by taxpayer money. Mr. Olens, where is the governor’s letter.”

What did deal threaten them with?

Yes Mr. Olens where is the letter to the Governor (term loosely used).

Better Yet what would it take to get a letter of IMPEACHMENT sent to
Dirty deal?

re-elect President OBAMA

tax man

October 3rd, 2012
8:14 pm

VOTE YES and I promise you your local taxes will go UP. Your local boe will have no choice when the Gov takes away even more money from them. BE smart and vote this crap down.

tax man

October 3rd, 2012
8:16 pm

I am republican but this charter mess is the wrong thing. Take us back 35 years.

Cherokee

October 3rd, 2012
8:17 pm

Another step in the Mississipi-fication of Georgia.

Steve Perkins

October 3rd, 2012
8:18 pm

Did Sam Olens order the Governor to take this off his state website? Or does it only apply to those that oppose the amendment?

“Approving this amendment will restore the process for creating state-charted schools that existed before the state Supreme Court struck down the state’s system for granting charters. I am confident Georgia voters will take advantage of the opportunity this fall to support charter schools in our state.”

http://gov.georgia.gov/press-releases/2012-05-03/deal-signs-state-charter-schools-bill

Scott Fresno

October 3rd, 2012
8:27 pm

Hypocrisy much? Is Sam going to tell the Gov to take this off his state funded website?

“Approving this amendment will restore the process for creating state-charted schools that existed before the state Supreme Court struck down the state’s system for granting charters. I am confident Georgia voters will take advantage of the opportunity this fall to support charter schools in our state.”

http://gov.georgia.gov/press-releases/2012-05-03/deal-signs-state-charter-schools-bill

Question Man

October 3rd, 2012
8:41 pm

Did Olens take the same position when it came to public money being used to support the T-SPLOST? Or is that different because so many government official supported its passage?

Charter Parent

October 3rd, 2012
8:43 pm

Calm down, teachers. The charter schools will have jobs for good teachers.

3schoolkids

October 3rd, 2012
8:51 pm

But, Charter Parent, they don’t have to be certified!

3schoolkids

October 3rd, 2012
8:59 pm

Interesting blog that compares HB797 with Minnesota’s charter school law:
http://alpharetta.patch.com/blog_posts/charter-school-amendment-ember-reichgott-junge-have-you-read-hb-797#comments

Makes what our legislature put together look like swiss cheese.

Kris

October 3rd, 2012
9:15 pm

@ 3schoolkids

“But, Charter Parent, they don’t have to be certified!”

I would add that charter schools can fire the teachers because little (insert child’s name) because his/her parents think they have money.. For the School Teachers on this Blog.

THANK YOU!

The Snark

October 3rd, 2012
9:16 pm

Read the letter before you critize Olens. He’s just saying what the law is, not what he wants it to be. His opinion is based on court precedents and Georgia statutes, not on his personal views of which side should win. Let the man do his job.

Unless, of course, you think it’s a good idea for government agencies to spend your tax dollars lobbying for or against the laws that affect them.

Kris

October 3rd, 2012
9:19 pm

@ The Snark….Olens is just a puppet…He cant not go to the bathroom unless he gets permission from Corked Deal. Just sayin.

Elizabeth

October 3rd, 2012
9:20 pm

The difference is with the opposition and the proponents is that the opposition is telling people how to vote and using state money to do it and taking up teachers state time. At one local district, GAE attend a faculty meeting and handed out vote no information and preceded to tell them why !! Our charter school has not once told me how to vote, they have informed me of the issues and have optional meetings after hours to discuss the amendment ….and I can’t believe at the AG has blatant proof that the law is being disobeyed and all of you are still not getting it !!!, local districts will go to any length to get their lies out there and the AG is legally obligated to follow the law

Kris

October 3rd, 2012
9:47 pm

The Truth
“If anyone other than bloggers read this…folks, please know that there is a large “secret” network of people devoted to blogging on every news site in this state to undermine the charter amendment. I’ve seen it in action, and it’s disgusting.”

Jim If we spot them can they be called out?

if your watching the debate……

OBAMA has won by a landslide. Romnet is speaking in Kolobish.

Re-elect President OBAMA

LH

October 3rd, 2012
9:56 pm

Public Education is critical to democracy, charter schools drain valuable resources from public education. I vote YES for democracy by voting NO to charter schools.

Public School Parent

October 3rd, 2012
9:56 pm

I am not against charter schools. I am against charter schools created by a state commission of appointed officials.

Visit http://www.VoteSmartGeorgia.com go to the Follow The Money link to find out who is interested in state sponsored charter schools in Georgia……it is not Georgians!!!!

Ron F.

October 3rd, 2012
10:02 pm

@Snark and Elizabeth: anyone, whether for or against this amendement, who receives public funds (both public and charter schools, for example) would thus be barred from using those funds, resources, or time on payroll to advocate for or against. That means letters sent from school, fliers at meeting with parents or teachers, etc. And both sides have done it and will have to stop. If this is to be strictly enforced, then both sides have violated it, and you can’t use the “but THEY are doing it more” argument. Both sides, from their passionate point of view, have to follow the law if AG Olens intends to push this.

3schoolkids

October 3rd, 2012
10:11 pm

@ Elizabeth: According to the letter, if your school was informing you of the issues and conducting the meetings on school premises, then they were violating the constitution. This is probably why Ivy Prep’s website no longer advertises the Charter Referendum sessions it’s holding (was on there earlier today, gone now). I have no problem with Mr. Olens notifying ALL parties that they are violating the constitution when they conduct “electoral advocacy” using state/local resources. He also states in his letter that he will investigate matters brought to his attention. I am assuming that means violations of the constitution from both sides of the issue.

Kris

October 3rd, 2012
10:14 pm

I smell a dirty deal for our children.

“The group promoting passage of a state charter school amendment has
received more than 95 percent of its contributions from out-of-state
sources and companies that make their money by operating charter
schools.
Families for Better Public Schools filed its first campaign disclosure
report last week listing contributions totaling $486,750. More than
$466,000 of that total came from sources outside Georgia and from
charter school management firms.”

Read the rest

http://files.www.votesmartgeorgia.com/whos-funding-the-amendment/Out-of-State_Money_Flows_to_Charter_School_Amendment_Group.pdf

Olens has a job at the Whim of the Governor (loosely term used).

Public School Parent

October 3rd, 2012
10:16 pm

YES we all agree that school administrators, superintendents, etc. cannot advocate for or against the amendment. I guarantee 99.9% of Georgia public school personnel have complied with this.

PTO organizations and professional educator organizations can advocate against Amendment #1 whenever and wherever they want.

Teachers and school officials can advocate against Amendment #1 using their personal emails, funds, and time away from school.

S

momoftwo

October 3rd, 2012
10:20 pm

Yall are crazy because u r mad ur political flunkies have been silenced. CHARTER Usa has stayed out of the fight as have the schools and teachers. This is NOT A DUPLICATED service. The state BOE doesn’t have the power to create schools. That is why this amendment is needed. The courts have ruled this unconstitutional! If this amendment passes then all the schools the state Hoe has pit into place will be challenged and dismantled. These people are spreading lies, so they can keep the kids down and keep a monopoly. Just think where else can u get a job that u cant get fired from very easily, you don’t have to show production AND u get a raise every year. Every other job if u don’t produce u get fired and u dang sure don’t. Get a raise.

Simply put

October 3rd, 2012
10:31 pm

Im not as concerned about the subject of this amendment as I am with the intent. It greatly concerns me that when the Georgia Supremes tell them what they have done is unconstitutional, their attitude is thats ok we’ll just amend that little problem.

Trip

October 3rd, 2012
10:37 pm

I have noticed quite a few people complaining that the pro charter groups are being funded by out of state interests out to earn profit from the new system. I am sure that they are funding this campaign based on ideological reasons not a profit motive. These organizations want parents nationwide to have a choice on where their children are educated. They see our situation as a first step down this road.

Public School Parent

October 3rd, 2012
11:06 pm

That’s funny Trip…good one this late at night.

The state BOE does have the right to create charters momoftwo. If local boe does not approve charter school, charter proposal can appeal to state BOE. WHAT IS THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Who this will hurt is rural Georgia. These profit seeking charter corporations are looking at Atlanta to start charter schools, but rural Georgia schools will suffer when QBE is cut to fund state created charter schools. All school allotments will be cut. Your precious Atlanta children will have your precious school choice. The rural students who do not have a choice because the money hungry charter corporations will not try to open charter schools in poor, rural Georgia will suffer because their local school budgets will be cut.

Atlanta crap messes with the rest of Georgia as usual.

honested

October 3rd, 2012
11:19 pm

tip,

Parents already have that option.
Of course, the companies want unlimited access to taxpayer funds in order to promote their unproven and dubious ‘educational’ experiments.

I have some additional ideas to suck the public till dry and enhance my bank account if you would like to discuss them.

reformed repub.

October 3rd, 2012
11:19 pm

there is a reason that these folks are fighting so hard and so dirty to pass this amendment and it’s called MONEY!! Deal can appoint the commission and they can hire all their buddies to set up for profit schools and everybody makes tons of money.

Kris

October 3rd, 2012
11:20 pm

Trip, “campaign based on ideological reasons not a profit motive.”

What the hell you smoking……A not for profit company wants to come to Ga to help…

0 to 10 Bullcrap….!10+

honested

October 3rd, 2012
11:21 pm

Simply Put,

That is why it is CRITICAL to prevent a 2/3 majority in the OnePartyState after November.
Just think of how many ‘inconveniences’ will be forced back onto the taxpayers if there is no opposition to check them.

honested

October 3rd, 2012
11:22 pm

I never thought sam olens would stoop this low this fast.

I once thought he was an honorable man.

honested

October 3rd, 2012
11:24 pm

momoftwo,

Don’t tell me, let me guess, you were homeschooled right?

Ron F.

October 3rd, 2012
11:25 pm

reformed: and they’ll get to do it with less regulation and less accountability to voters who cannot directly affect the commission or change it. That, to me, means the companies see a potential windfall of profits. They’re throwing out a lot of good lines to get people to believe they are ever so altruistic, but watch how quickly they run if the schools don’t generate the profits the companies seek. They’ll shut them down and take what they’ve made and run, leaving the families who enrolled in their schools with no options but the schools they left.

Kara Martin

October 3rd, 2012
11:26 pm

The issue is not about the school board members advocating for or against the amendment. It is that they are doing so when they are suppose to be managing the school system. If they want to advocate, do it on their own time. After work hours, create a separate organization, blog, talk to the news when NOT on the tax payers dime. And as far as the schools hosting forums about the amendment here is the difference. When my Charter School hosted such a forum they did NOT once tell people to vote yes or no. They strictly explained what the amendment meant, what is would create and the facts surrounding the financial impact (numbers). Not one time while on school property while using school funds has the admin, board or employee lobbied for parents to vote one way or the other. Unfortunately that has not been the case with district schools (for instance at curriculum night at several Cherokee schools half the time was spent telling parents that they need to VOTE no and giving opinions on the amendment. You can not do this, it is ILLEGAL! The boards are also not allowed to create a resolution asking voters to vote one way or the other…..that relates to district and public charter schools. Charters have not done this. Go ahead and look, no where on any charter school sites does it say for people to VOTE YES. Although that is not the case on local district boards sites. My Charter School’s principal has turned down flyers, brochures, and many other items to pass out to parents because it specifically said to Vote yes. Why? Because it is illegal for school systems to do so. The law is very clear and has been for years.

[...] Sam Olens orders local school boards to stay out of charter school fight 4:48 pm October 3, 2012, by jgalloway [...]

momoftwo

October 4th, 2012
12:09 am

momoftwo

October 4th, 2012
12:10 am

Read this article. I believe it says it all!

Kris

October 4th, 2012
12:45 am

Kara ” Because it is illegal for school systems to do so. The law is very clear and has been for years.”

If the law is so clear We should expect that our elected officials abide by the law as well as us.

It looks like they only abide by the clear law only when its convention for their cause.

VOTE NO to CHARTER schools

rawmilkdrinker

October 4th, 2012
6:35 am

I’ve paid attention to Ga politics and it’s political charactor’s shenanigans long enough to know that there will be a lot of foxes guarding the henhouse on this charter school amendment if it passes.

The bottomline on education is that if parents expect their child to learn new things and behave, then it doesn’t matter where one goes to school;public, private, parochial,charter, home, or self taught, in order to get good results.

Lynn43

October 4th, 2012
7:21 am

Kara, I can tell that you know very little about school boards. 1. Most school board members have “day” jobs. Those that don’t sure couldn’t survive on what little is paid to board members 2. Some may get a stipend or expense money for each regular meeting. 3. I receive NO salary, compensation, or expense money to serve, therefore, I dare Mr. Olens to try to silence me. I’m just careful to pick my places, but I am available 24/7 to speak against amendment 1. Again, I say, this is not about the creation of charter schools as this will happen whether or not the amendment passes. This is about out-of-state for-profit management companies taking over education. I’ve dealt very closely with one for several years, and they don’t tell the truth, are not honest, and are not at all interested in student education but are seeing big bucks for their shareholders, the legislators, and themselves.

honested

October 4th, 2012
7:55 am

Lynn43,

Those that don’t understand the truth you are speaking demonstrate their lack of involvement with their local schools.
I shows how talk radio is a poor source for information on local education.

Elizabeth

October 4th, 2012
9:10 am

Once again, opposers are trying to manipulate the facts !!! The fact is that districts have been using state money and time to TELL people how to vote , not educate citizens on how great their school is (bc sometimes they can’t ) ….. Charter schools have not spent one dime or office time to tell anyone HOW to vote … They have spent money an time on educating parents … You have to face it …. There is a difference but opposers are too blind to see it and for goodness sake, read the whole letter from th AG and you will see that it was in response to a request by Barge

Lynn43

October 4th, 2012
9:17 am

I’m going to do some research on this as I have two private charter schools in my district. I can assure you that they have been telling people how to vote, I just have to find the evidence.

[...] Georgia’s Attorney General Sam Olens ordered school boards around the state to shut down efforts to oppose the state’s proposed charter school amendment that happen during school time or use official funds. (AJC) [...]

First Amendment Controls

October 4th, 2012
11:14 am

The AG opinion is perhaps unintentionally misleading in that it skips over some major wrinkles that would better explain the prohibition of use of public funds for electoral advocacy. The major wrinkle is “what is “advocacy”? The case law under the First Amendment on this issue interprets that very narrowly. The School Boards are free to put out objective educational material that is not “advocacy.”

GaBlue

October 4th, 2012
11:24 am

Sam can suck it. This amendment is just another oligarchy-driven step in the systematic destruction of public education, in little baby steps they hope we won’t notice. Public education is what made the American dream possible for the millions who came here from places where only the wealthy had any decent education, and a permanent underclass did their bidding for life, with no chance of upward mobility.

Reject this anti-American move by the new plantation-master wannabees who run this state, and the billionaires who help fund their efforts. Vote NO on this thinly-veiled ruse.

Thank you.

First Amendment Controls

October 4th, 2012
11:46 am

Not sure how Olens missed the State Ethics in Government Act, the United States Supreme Court opinions on this and the First Amendment in his opinion but, he did.

Really?

October 4th, 2012
11:48 am

If Romney wins, Charter all the way! YEA!

Carol

October 4th, 2012
12:42 pm

I don’t have a problem with charter schools. I understand they have some value. But when you look at all of the issues that should qualify for an amendment to the State Constitution, charter schools isn’t even on my list. That fact alone makes it suspect to me.

The second, and biggest problem I have is the fact that it would give control to a body of people that I have no say about. Once again the party of small government wants to add a layer of bureaucracy, call it something else and act the people to believe it’s not more government.

Carol

October 4th, 2012
12:43 pm

Sam Olens did a great job in Cobb County. I don’t know who this person is in the AG’s office.

Frank

October 4th, 2012
12:51 pm

So we can censor school board members and censo John Barge and prevent them from exercising their freedom because they are elected officials but other public officials like the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and state legislators are free to speal in support of this amendment. Haven’t we fought wars to suppress totalitarian government and suprression of those who don’t like what the state is doing? Is that the new mode of government in this state now in which some elected officials are permitted to voice their views on an issue and others aren”t? Tom Murphy is rolling over in his grave.

Elizabeth

October 4th, 2012
1:10 pm

Lynn43… You have way too much time on your hands

From the Other Georgia

October 4th, 2012
2:04 pm

Sambo,
You need to go back to Cobb County or New Jersey and take Chip Rogers with you. Remember as Lewis Grizzard said, “Delta is ready when you are!” if you want NJ; try Marta to Cobb County.

bdawg

October 4th, 2012
2:32 pm

Trip:

Public schools must take all students that walk in their doors….do charter schools have to adhere to the same standards? NO.