Archive for the ‘charter schools’ Category

Charter school lawsuit unravels in Fulton County court

A first report from Bill Barrow and the Associated Press:

A lawsuit alleging illegal campaigning by public education officials opposed to a constitutional amendment on charter schools unraveled Wednesday in a Fulton County courtroom.

Five plaintiffs brought the suit against all of Georgia’s 180 local school districts over some officials’ actions regarding a Nov. 6 referendum that would grant the state more power to select private operators for independent public schools. But in an initial hearing, Atlanta attorney Glenn Delk rolled back his arguments to Fulton and Gwinnett counties.

Superior Court Judge Wendy Shoob declined to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the Fulton County system from publishing an online Q&A about the referendum. She declined to rule on anything concerning Gwinnett County, telling the plaintiffs to take up their complaint in a Gwinnett court, where a second lawsuit has already been filed by different plaintiffs.

The Fulton case still could go to …

Continue reading Charter school lawsuit unravels in Fulton County court »

Your morning jolt: Republican state senator says he’ll oppose charter measure

A Republican state Senator who voted to place the proposed constitutional amendment on charter schools on the November ballot now says he’ll vote against the measure.

Frank Ginn of Danielsville declared his opposition at an Athens forum last night – as did Regina Quick, who defeated state Rep. Doug McKillip, R-Athens, in the July primary. From the Banner-Herald:

Quick and Ginn, both Republicans, were panelists for the forum in Clarke Central’s Mell Auditorium Tuesday night.

Ginn, R-Danielsville, voted to place the amendment on the ballot so Georgia voters could decide, he said…

“I’m going to vote against the amendment,” he said. “I’m for the teacher. Bureaucracy, we see, is not helping.”

“There are portions of this bill that really bother me, as far as the charter school commission,” Quick said. “I’m against government run amok.”

A first hearing on a lawsuit filed by charter school proponents against Georgia’s 180 school districts, asking a …

Continue reading Your morning jolt: Republican state senator says he’ll oppose charter measure »

Your morning jolt: Apply charter campaign restrictions to governor, Dems say

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 …

Continue reading Your morning jolt: Apply charter campaign restrictions to governor, Dems say »

Lawsuit alleges ‘Education Empire’ conspiracy to defeat charter school measure

Atlanta attorney and charter school advocate Glenn Delk has finally filed that lawsuit against 180 school districts in Georgia, alleging that along with “the Education Empire,” they have been engaged in a “coordinated campaign and conspiracy” to defeat the November ballot question on charter schools.

Signing onto the lawsuit are Rae Anne Harkness, a charter school parent from DeKalb County; Rich Thompson, founder and CEO of 100Dads; Kelley O’Bryan Gary, chairman of the Jackson County GOP; Kara Martin; and Allen Hughes.

Read the lawsuit here. Some excerpts:

This case is brought by individual taxpayers and registered voters of Georgia who believe in the rule of law and the right of taxpayers to freely exercise their right to vote on the Amendment without Defendants and entities such as the teachers unions, the Georgia School Boards Association, the Georgia School Superintendents Association and others (collectively known as the “Education Empire”) using taxpayer …

Continue reading Lawsuit alleges ‘Education Empire’ conspiracy to defeat charter school measure »

Your morning jolt: Romney presses for deeper U.S. involvement in Syria, would re-examine Afghan exit

In a speech this morning at Virginia Military Institute, Republican presidential nominee will endorse deeper U.S. involvement in Syria’s civil war, and raised the prospect of delaying the exit of American combat forces from Afghanistan.

From the Associated Press:

“Hope is not a strategy. We cannot support our friends and defeat our enemies in the Middle East when our words are not backed up by deeds,” Romney plans to say in the address, adding that the U.S. should use its influence “wisely, with solemnity and without false pride, but also firmly and actively.”

On Syria:

”I will work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets. Iran is sending arms to Assad because they know his downfall would be a strategic defeat for them. We should be working no less vigorously with our international partners to support the many Syrians …

Continue reading Your morning jolt: Romney presses for deeper U.S. involvement in Syria, would re-examine Afghan exit »

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 …

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

John Barge removes primer on charter schools from state website

This comes from the Associated Press:

A spokesman for state Superintendent John Barge says his boss has reached an agreement with Attorney General Sam Olens on the school chief’s political activity regarding a statewide referendum on charter schools.

Matt Cardoza says Barge remains opposed to a constitutional amendment that would allow the state to issue charters for private operators to run taxpayer financed schools. But Cardoza confirmed that the Department of Education has removed from its website a written primer on the issue.

The action comes after a private attorney filed a complaint accusing Barge of violating state law that generally limits the use of public resources for political activity.

Barge’s Q&A does not explicitly tell Georgians how to vote, but makes his position clear.

Cardoza says Barge will continue to speak candidly about his opposition.

“Reached an agreement” may not be the exactly right phrase. Lauren Kane, a spokeswoman for Olens, sent the …

Continue reading John Barge removes primer on charter schools from state website »

Your morning jolt: Before the vote, a Democrat says he’ll turn GOP

No matter what happens on Nov. 6, Democrats will be at least one seat down in the state House.

State Rep. Rick Crawford of Cedartown, one of the few remaining conservative Democrats in the Legislature, says he intends to switch to the GOP – if he survives the general election.

House Speaker David Ralston doesn’t think he will. Crawford faces a tough race in a newly redrawn west Georgia district that has a Democratic performance rating of 27 percent. Crawford’s Republican opponent is Trey Kelley, a 25-year-old manufacturer’s rep.

“I am fully committed to making sure Trey Kelley is elected to the House. He is an outstanding candidate who is working hard and is consistent,” Ralston said this morning. “While I respect Rick Crawford and appreciate his dilemma, the truth is that the [Democratic] Party didn’t just suddenly become liberal. It has been, is, and will continue to be a party that is far to the left of the great majority of Georgians.”

Jim Walls and …

Continue reading Your morning jolt: Before the vote, a Democrat says he’ll turn GOP »

Your morning jolt: Charter school support holds steady at 58 percent

The forces behind Georgia’s charter school amendment to the state constitution are out with a new poll this morning that shows voters still comfortably in favor of the measure.

Fifty-eight percent of voters are prepared to vote in favor of the amendment – unchanged since the previous poll in July. See the polling note from John McLaughlin and Rob Schmidt here.

The real purpose of the poll was to measure the effectiveness of arguments we’re likely to see put forward in coming weeks. Opponents have argued that giving a state agency the power to grant charter school licenses over the objections of local systems would sap education funding from traditional schools.

Here’s one test argument from the poll:

If approved, this amendment would not take a single dollar away from traditional public schools. This amendment simply provides for a fair appeals process for families that are not fortunate enough to have great public schools or enough resources to enroll in private …

Continue reading Your morning jolt: Charter school support holds steady at 58 percent »

A private electronic memo outlines charter school campaign

The November campaign to re-establish state government’s authority to set up local charter schools in Georgia will look very much like this summer’s effort to pass a transportation sales tax.

But in a good way.

That’s according to a private PowerPoint outline that’s being passed to members and friends of the Georgia Charter Schools Association, and which has fallen into our hands. You can see it here.

The presentation describes a $2.7 million statewide campaign that will be divided into a $974,000 tax-free “educational” effort dubbed “Brighter Georgia,” controlled by the charter schools association, and a traditional get-out-the-vote campaign with a $1.8 million price tag called Families for Better Schools. That’s a page torn right from the T-SPLOST push.

The two organizations had raised a combined $988,000 as of Sept. 1, the memo said.

At the top of the organizational chart of the Families for Better Schools campaign — contained within the memo — is a …

Continue reading A private electronic memo outlines charter school campaign »