Archive for the ‘vouchers’ Category

Your morning jolt: Half of Georgia’s city officials think transportation tax doomed

Georgia officialdom is getting very nervous about next year’s votes for regional tax districts to pay for better transportation in the state.

Half of the state’s mayors and other city officials think the ballot issues are doomed, according to an annual survey conducted by the Georgia Municipal Association.

In 2010, one-third of mayors polled thought the measure – just adopted by the Legislature – had a chance. That’s now down to 19 percent. Says the GMA:

There was no region in the state where more city officials thought the regional transportation tax would pass than not pass, compared to three regions in 2010. Only two regions had a higher percentage of city officials responding “Don’t Know” than “No.”

The region with the highest percentage of city officials that thought the regional transportation tax would pass is the Atlanta Regional Commission at just over 30%. Not one city official from the Three Rivers region thought the tax would pass.


See the entire report here.
The …

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State senator: Georgia justices could pay a price for charter school decision

Early this morning, the Georgia Supreme Court declined to reconsider its recent decision declaring that the state’s charter school law was unconstitutional.

State Senator Fran Millar, left, heads a meeting of the special legislative committee to help charter school students earlier this month. Phil Skinner, pskinner@ajc.com.

State Senator Fran Millar, left, heads a meeting of the special legislative committee to help charter school students earlier this month. Phil Skinner, pskinner@ajc.com.

An estimated 16,500 students are affected by the decision that puts more than a dozen charter schools in limbo.
The ruling, now underlined, probably means that voters will be presented with a proposed constitutional amendment in November 2012.

But an angry state Sen. Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody, one of the General Assembly’s more forceful advocates of school vouchers, warned the high court of other repercussions:

“Since the Supreme Court chose not to reconsider its charter school ruling, the Legislature will have to attempt to offer a 21st century solution. The voters may also reconsider whom they elect to our highest court when given a future opportunity.”

- …

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Your morning jolt: Democrats condemn end of limits on class size, Republicans split

The state Board of Education on Monday voted to gut its limits on class sizes over the next year in response to a deepening school budget crisis that has already forced thousands of teacher layoffs and shorter school years across the state.

The move prompted criticism among a majority of candidates for governor, especially Democrats in hot competition for the public school constituency.

But Republicans were decidedly split in their reactions — Karen Handel and John Oxendine called it was a bad idea, Nathan Deal described himself as “disappointed,” Jeff Chapman declared it “the best thing,” and Eric Johnson said “vouchers.”

We asked the major candidates to send us a paragraph or so of commentary on the topic. In alphabetical order:

DEMOCRATS

Attorney General Thurbert Baker:

Baker

“For a decade, our leaders have been on a spending spree with a credit card. Now the bill has come due, but instead of cutting government waste to pay for their spending, the politicians are cutting …

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Your morning jolt: If your kid. Comes home. Talking like this. It’s Obama’s. Fault.

Over a three-day weekend, and perhaps a few beers, some of us have mellowed out on President Barack Obama’s speech to schoolchildren set for today.

But some have not. This from columnist Laura Armstrong in the Marietta Daily Journal, on our president’s power of seduction:

Parents are watchful of indoctrination, given Obama’s propensity for personal slogans, seals, pledges and mottos. And his planned “civilian defense force”… too much like the third-world (or one 20th century nationalist/socialist movement) for many. Will he call children to service?

Seen those creepy YouTube videos pledging allegiance to Obama, doing the Obama dance, singing the Obama song?

Many parents fear that Obama will attempt to woo students with actual policy. Highly questionable policy. Lord knows, there’s a precedent:

“If war is forced upon us, we will liberate the people of Iraq from a cruel and violent dictator. We don’t believe freedom and dignity are America’s gift to the world. We believe they …

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Your morning jolt: Where Mark Sanford has been could determine where he’s going

So who knew the Appalachian Trail stretched that far south?

Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport this morning, debarking from a plane just in from Buenos Aires in Argentina.

His staff had said he’d been on a domestic hike to clear his head, but the South Carolina governor had left a trail of clues indicating this wasn’t actually the case. The State — the newspaper of record in the state capital — summarized the breadcrumbs this morning:

[Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer] admitted staffers still did not know the governor’s location. Sanford has been out of touch with staffers and family since leaving his security detail and driving off in a State Law Enforcement Division SUV on Thursday. The vehicle was spotted late Tuesday night at Columbia Metropolitan Airport, according to CNN.

— A mobile phone tower picked up his last known location near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Thursday, according to a source …

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Perdue again expresses opposition to embryonic stem cell research

Gov. Sonny Perdue this morning reemphasized his opposition to embryonic stem cell research, and appeared to endorse the main points of a bill passed by the state Senate that would restrict it.

Gov. Sonny Perdue/Associated Press

Gov. Sonny Perdue/Associated Press

Perdue said he “can not, in my conscience,” support the use of human embryos in stem cell research. His remarks came during a brief news conference at the Georgia Aquarium, and were picked up by my AJC colleague Stacy Shelton.

“I think we can solve some of the tougher issues without sacrificing human embryos,” the governor said. He called the use of human embryos for medical research “unfortunate.”

On Thursday, after much debate, the Senate passed S.B. 169, which stopped short of barring Georgia couples from donating spare embryos created during invitro fertilization to science — but would prohibit the creation of embryos for the purpose of research.

That would rule out one form of embryonic stem cell research — somatic cell nuclear transfers, also …

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Johnson’s school voucher bill missing from today’s Senate calendar

Update: State Sen. Eric Johnson, sponsor of the school voucher bill, just sent the following info: “I asked that it be held. I am about three votes short and will spend more time growing the grassroots. Tort reform took me three years. I have been at this since my first voucher amendment in 1993 (on one of Governor Zell Miller’s bills).”

Looking at the calendar that came out of the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday evening, the biggest dog not getting a chance to bark was state Sen. Eric Johnson’s school voucher bill.

Haven’t found any fingerprints yet, but consider the omission of S.B. 90 to be payback for Johnson’s insistence on pushing through S.R. 452, a bill to make it easier to out lawmakers who are having trouble paying their taxes.

Senate Republicans voted for it last week, but they weren’t happy about it. On a voice vote, the measure failed to obtain a necessary two-thirds margin because of Democratic opposition.

Cagle later told the Senate Republican caucus, as …

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