MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Local leaders are taking a stand against the controversial charter school amendment on the ballot in November.
"You know it sounds good, but its not good," State Representative Nikki Randall said.
Randall is talking about House Bill 1162. It's asking voters to re-instate the Georgia Charter Schools Commission which the state supreme court found unconstitutional last year. The Commission would be a third agency that could approve charter schools. Right now, charter school applicants can apply through their local school board or appeal to the State Board of Education.
"The amendment is deceptive," Randall said. "It makes it seem as if this is going to be a good for our communities and for our childrens' education and ultimately for our future. That's not so."
Randall along with members of the Georgia Legislature Black Caucus are calling on voters to vote no to the charter school amendment. She says it won't give control to the local community. Instead, it gives all the power to a new state agency in Atlanta. Bibb County school board member Lynn Farmer agrees.
"To me, charters should be about education, about what the community needs," Farmer said. "Charter schools should be run by local people in the community."
This amendment was a hot topic for discussion during an education town hall on Thursday. State Superintendent Dr. John Barge says re-instating this commission not only creates a bigger government, it is projected to cost the state an extra 450 million dollars. He says he would rather see that money spent somewhere else.
"Before we start putting money in other places, I would really like to see all of our kids across the state in school 180 days and teachers at full pay, Dr. Barge said.
During the town hall meeting, Dr. Barge also commented on the state of the Georgia education system. He mentioned major improvements on this year's S-A-T scores and advance placement tests.
Dr. Barge and our local leaders say they are all for creating new charter schools, but not for this amendment. With all the facts on the table, they hope you'll vote no. Election day is November 6th and early voting kicks off on Monday.