Charter amendment debated at Ga. Capitol - Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

Charter amendment debated at Ga. Capitol

ATLANTA -

A coalition of groups gathered at the Georgia Capitol to oppose a constitutional amendment on charter schools that is on the November ballot.

Democratic lawmakers, civil rights groups and teachers' associations say the change, backed by Governor Nathan Deal and others, would drain resources from other public schools.

 "We do not support this governor's takeover of usurping the power of these locally-elected school boards to make that decision," said state Sen. Emanuel Jones (D–Decatur).  

Georgia currently has more than 100 charter schools.  Local school boards gave the go-ahead for most of them. The proposed amendment would spell out the state's authority to create charter schools.  

Charter schools are independent public schools that obtain freedom from some rules, while agreeing to produce education results.
    
The angry exchange at the Capitol on Tuesday happened as supporters came forward, including a father and daughter from Ivy Preparatory Academy at Kirkwood.

"It gave me the choice as a taxpayer,as a citizen of Georgia -- I have the right to see the best for my child," said Pierre Sheppard.

"My charter school helps me go to college, so all this about 'no' doesn't make any sense to me," said Jordyn Sheppard.

Opponents argue that the dangers of funding shortfalls are real for children remaining in other public schools.

Gov. Deal's deputy chief of staff Erin Hames issued a statement on Tuesday saying, "Governor Deal is working to give options to parents whose children are trapped in failing schools.  While others fight for special interests and the status quo, Governor Deal is fighting for Georgia's children."

The charter school measure is amendment one on the election ballot.

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