PERRY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The controversial charter school amendment one has passed in the Peach State. That means a third state agency, the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, can approve charter school applications.
It was ruled unconstitutional last year. Opponents say a poor choice of wording and voters not fully understanding the amendment could be reasons for it passing.
"It didn't tell the whole story," Houston County Superintendent Dr. Robin Hines said.
But it is too late to tell it now. According to the elections results, 58% of voters checked yes for amendment one. Opponents say they may not have fully understood it.
"I believe the way the ballot question and the preamble was worded, if you didn't have prior knowledge then you would absolutely vote yes for that amendment," Hines said.
Hines says it may sound good on paper, but in reality, amendment one is not about offering more public charter school options.
"This was made out to be a charter school amendment, which it wasn't at all," Hines said. "This was really about local board control and it was about a level of funding which I certainly would still be opposed to."
Senator Miriam Paris agrees. She is worried about what will happen to local school boards now that the amendment passed.
"[I] just hope the state will be fair in supporting local boards as well as local systems and making sure they're not receiving less money than what they're already getting," Paris said. "I think it could really harm our current public schools that are already struggling."
These fears, worries, and concerns won't go away any time soon, but opponents say the voters have spoken and what's done is done.
"Its not like this is the end of the world or anything like that," Hines said. "It's business as usual for us and we're just going to move forward."
"We fought hard and at the end of the day you have to respect the peoples' opinion and their voice," Paris said.
Georgia State Superintendent Dr. John Barge also spoke out against amendment one. He released a statement on Wednesday saying the following:
"Now that the election is over and the people of Georgia voiced their opinion, I trust we can work together to find real solutions to make public education work for all Georgians. As an ardent supporter of quality charter schools, I, for one, am putting aside my philosophical differences and stand ready to work with the Charter School Commission to ensure the children of Georgia have access to high quality charter schools."
Under current Georgia law, charter school applicants can apply through their local school board. If denied, they can appeal to the State Board of Education for approval.