Suddenly, the hottest debate in Georgia is over who can say what about charter schools and the November ballot issue.
We told you yesterday about the Glenn Delk lawsuit against the state’s 180 school districts, demanding that a Fulton County judge order public school officials into silence – at least during school hours. See the lawsuit here.
The court petition leans a great deal on a letter of guidance issued by Attorney General Sam Olens to state School Superintendent John Barge last week, reminding those same school systems that public resources aren’t to be used on either side of the argument. Barge, for instance, removed notice of his opposition to the charter school amendment.
Democrats have now demanded that Olens apply the same measure to Gov. Nathan Deal, an advocate of the proposed constitutional amendment to give the state another avenue through which to create charter schools – over the objections of local systems.
From a letter sent to Olens by Mike Berlon, chairman of the state Democratic party:
Based upon your legal conclusion, the actions of the Governor are clearly in violation of the law. Consequently, we are formally requesting that your office take immediate action against the Governor to ensure the proper enforcement …. It doesn’t seem reasonable or fair that the application of your opinion would not extend to the Executive branch of the government….
Moreover, the party chairman noted, the governor’s use of government resources hasn’t been a fluke of the charter school campaign. The governor was also active in this summer’s TSPLOST campaign, and used public resources to get his message across.
Last night, Atlanta Tea Party Patriots declared its neutrality on the charter school amendment. From ATPP’s Julianne Thompson:
“The Atlanta Tea Party is 100% in favor of school choice. We support vouchers, educational savings accounts, and Charter Schools. However, we are currently remaining neutral on this Charter School Amendment and we intend to provide extensive information from both proponents and opponents of the issue so that voters can have the information necessary to make an informed decision at the polls in November. We are addressing this issue on our website as an interactive blog, and in emails we are sending out to activists around the state.”
Opposition to the charter school measure may be strongest in rural Georgia. Better Georgia Schools, which is opposing the proposed amendment, is passing around an op-ed penned by Jesse Bradley, is the retired superintendent of the Griffin-Spalding County public schools and former superintendent of the Tattnall County system. Read the entire piece here.
One of the opening paragraphs:
While there is much to like about charter schools, particularly their emphasis on parental involvement, the primary problem with this amendment is that it will very likely do much more than its supporters acknowledge, and much of what it does could be harmful-not just to public schools, but to entire communities. By establishing a mechanism for the state to approve charter schools that are not supported by local school systems, the amendment can help divide communities and decrease the role of the local public schools as important social centers.
As part of a series on how members of Congress invest, the Washington Post has a fine state-by-state graphic on who’s worth what. Within the Georgia delegation, U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell, is the wealthiest – beating U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Marietta, by a whisker.
U.S. Reps. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, and Hank Johnson, D-Decatur, are the poorest.
U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell: $12.2 million
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Marietta: $12.0 million
U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta: $5.0 million
U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta: $3.8 million
U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah: $3.4 million
U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger: $2.3 million
U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton: $1.8 million
U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens: $584,507
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Moultrie: $337,505
U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta: $383,001
U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville: $373,503
U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Coweta County: $291,001
U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta: $72,000
U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Decatur: $0
U.S. Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr., D-Albany: -$159,497
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at a statement by Patriot Majority USA declaring that Gov. Nathan Deal “has taken at least $15,600 from the (Koch brothers), their businesses, and their employees.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider