Vote ‘No’ on charter school amendment
October 12, 2012 12:01 AM | 4538 views | 8 8 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEAR EDITOR:

Make no mistake — Amendment No. 1 (also known as HR 1162 and the Charter School Amendment) is definitely not about supporting charter schools in Georgia.

Currently, there are over 200 charter schools in Georgia, and the State Board of Education already has the legal authority to approve charters.

The November ballot has been carefully worded to convince voters that we are voting to support charter schools in Georgia. The harsh reality is that we are voting to create yet another state bureaucracy to approve charter schools, over the objections of the communities and locally elected school boards, a bureaucracy appointed by the governor that will operate independently with liberal funding, including $1 million start-up fund.

The state sends two-and-a-half times as much funding per student to charter schools as to students in our traditional public schools, and more charter schools will require more state funding.

As state Sen. Chip Rogers stated at a Town Hall meeting last winter when discussing the state budget, “There is only so much money in the pie.”

Approving these schools would leave no option other than pulling additional dollars from the pie (taking critically needed resources from local public school districts and redirecting these to the state-controlled charters) or raising taxes to provide funding for charters — neither of these is an option I can support.

To be clear, I personally support charter schools as an integral part of improving education in our nation by providing options for children trapped in failing communities.

Unfortunately, Amendment No. 1 is about providing an avenue to for-profit companies (often out-of-state corporations) to circumvent local communities’ wishes on education and gain our tax dollars for their profit.

Now is not the time to set up a new, separate tax-supported school system, with its own bureaucracy and additional expenses, and with no accountability to the voters or local school districts.

Of Georgia’s 186 school districts, 121 are operating on less than the required 180 days of school, and almost every district has had to furlough students and teachers because of dramatic cuts in state funding.

In spite of these funding limitations, Cherokee County continues to demonstrate excellence, including the recent recognition of the Class of 2012 for the highest SAT scores in Georgia, which are also significantly above the national average!

Make No Mistake: approval of Amendment No. 1 will either take money out of our local public schools or raise taxes, while making state government even bigger.

Please join me and Vote “NO” on Amendment No. 1 and send a clear message to our state Legislature (the same group who brought us the T-SPLOST) that we support our public schools in Georgia.

Rich Dreschel
Canton
Comments
(8)
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public teacher
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November 08, 2012
@ been called worse, you make our point well!!!! Clayton is an excellent example of where charter schools are needed, but a stubborn local boe turned them down! That's exactly why we needed, and got, this amendment. Thank you for expressing such wisdom.
public teacher
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November 08, 2012
Glad to see it passed, even with repeated efforts like this to mislead people into thinking this wasn't about Charter Schools. It was, and the people have spoken loud and clear. Get in, get out, or get run over. Education in this state is taking a new direction and it can only be up.
Vote YES to 1162
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October 13, 2012
There's plenty of funding available. Georgia has over $7 Billion annually to spend on education. It's not surprising that a teacher's spouse would seek to protect what's clearly a failed educational system by voting NO to 1162...and by extension, "NO" to more accountability and competition.

It's a joke and a lie that these NO people claim to be pro-charter. They only seek to protect what is already too-much-spending on a failed system of education that has GA firmly at the bottom of the national rankings in numerous categories.

How dare this teacher's spouse try to tell GA voters to accept the decisions of corrupt, short-sighted BOEs like APS, Bibb, DeKalb, and Clayton counties. But that's the liberal mentality for you: In their minds, they're entitled to make decisions for your children's education.

Vote YES to 1162 to give GA parents the rights to appeal the short-sighed, liberal mentality expressed by this teacher's husband and various board members. No government agents have the right to dictate educational choice to a parent. No gov't agent knows what's better for a child than the child's parent does.

Finally, CCSD has over a half-billion $$ budget. It wasn't until we CUT spending that we finally saw improvement into long-stagnant test scores. It's predictable of the liberal to ask for it...but clearly, "more funding" isn't the answer to any of CCSD's problems. If CCSD can fund the superintendent's monthly driving habits, then we clearly don't have budgetary issues.

Senior Voter
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October 15, 2012
Charter schools are very useful but the amendment on the ballot has nothing to do with supporting charter schools. What it will do is take away loacal control and money from traditional schools to give to an unelected board set up by the most unethical legislature in the nation. This "board" will be paid for by for-profit charter schools whose new focus isn't under performing school districts, but rather high affluent areas so they can create a separate school system and drain the already dwindling money from those areas. The board will most likely be donors to the Governor and the republican leadership to reward their campaign donors. It is a deceiving bill that will not look out for the best interest of 95% of Georgia's school children. Georgia already has a system set in place to override locally elected officials it's just the politicians want a faster way to reward their friends!
gopherpup
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October 15, 2012
It's obvious this writer does not have the pleasure of knowing Mr. Dreschel. I'm sure that the students that he personally taught for 30 years, as well as the legion of community members who know him, can tell you that to call him a liberal is truly laughable. And, a teacher's spouse? Yes, and proudly so. But it is painfully obvious that Mr. yes is turning this into a personal attack rather than discussing the issues. This attack says far more about his own character (or lack therof) than it does Mr. Dreschel's.
Kay H
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October 16, 2012
Clearly someone who advocates for smaller state government, lower taxes and local control is a solid Liberal . . .more personal attacks from an individual who cannot adequately debate the issue.
GATreeLover
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October 12, 2012
It's also interesting to note that Charter Schools (such as CCA) do not post their test scores or information about accountability as CCSD does - openly - on their website. However, initial results that were (briefly) released indicate that the charter school did not perform as promised their first year as compared to similar CCSD schools. Now, they had more money, no furlough days, and supposedly had "better curriculum" from Charter Schools, USA. Since public schools are judged on their test scores as a measure of accountability, I find it interesting that it seems as though charter schools do not want this information released or publicly available. If this amendment goes through, I'm sure this practice will continue and, as taxpayers, you have no measure of accountability for where your tax dollars have been spent. Try it - go to the CCSD website and then the Cherokee Charter Academy website and see for yourself which one supplies more information about how your money is spent and the results that were attained. As Mr. Dreschel states, I, too, have no issue with charters - but not at the expense of the vast majority of students in GA. Until we have a full 180 day school year with no furloughs or austerity cuts, there is no reason to continue with an amendment and remove more money from public education by creating more beaurcracy and removing local control of our local tax dollars.
Been called worse
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October 15, 2012
I find it amazing that the same rhetoric comes out time and time again. Just because people don't agree 100% they are called liberal. Really??!! Grow up! While there are many troubled school systems in GA, Cherokee County is NOT one of them. In fact, most parents you speak to move here specifically FOR the schools. Please don't be patronizing....if the Charter "organizations" were really for helping the kids as they profess, why are they not setting up shop in Clayton. Hmmm...not enough money to make there?! Just saying!
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