Hear the Pro, Con on Charter School Ballot Question Monday

An info session on the ballot question will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Decatur Schools headquarters.

There's an important question about the future of Georgia education on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Amendment One asks: "Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?"

To help voters decide, the City Schools of Decatur (CSD) invites the public to an information session to be held 6:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, at the Central Offices at Westchester at 758 Scott Blvd.

How are you voting on the charter school ballot question? Why?

CSD parents will represent both sides.

Matt Arkin, head of school for the Georgia Cyber Academy will speak in favor of Amendment One.

Speaking against will be Margaret Ciccarelli, legislative services director and staff attorney for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators.

The moderator will be Annie Caiola, a CSD Engagement Committee member, a CSD parent and an attorney for Slotkin and Caiola, LLC.

Amendment One opponents recently filed a lawsuit against Fulton and Gwinnett schools for running information about the question on their websites.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that a Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday the schools didn't have to take down the information.




Ralph Ellis October 12, 2012 at 02:19 PM
How important is the charter school ballot question?
Decaturette October 14, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Critically, no? Isn't writing something into the Constitution usually a big deal? It's hard to undo it--would take another constitutional amendment. So it should not be taken lightly.
Judy October 15, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Just say NO! We have enough tax dollars to the schools if they would handle it properly and stop wasting.
Frank October 16, 2012 at 04:10 PM
VERY Important - Any Constitutional Amendment must be closely reviewed. Consider a very important aspect of Charter Schools and their contribution to segregation. Here is an example concerning Pataula Charter Academy (PCA) in Edison, GA. According to the Georgia Department of Education website, Pataula Charter Academy's enrollment of white students is 75%, yet the white demographic in Edison is approximately 32%. Transportation, or lack thereof, largely determines a student's ability to attend, or not attend a charter school. If you can afford to transport your child to the school, there is an increased likelihood you might choose the charter school option. For many, transportation is unaffordable. It shows more clearly in the following example. PCA is located in Calhoun County, GA. 92% of Calhoun County students are Eligible for Free/Reduced Meals. Yet, at Pataula Charter Academy just 54% are Eligible for Free/Reduced Meals. Hmmm.... Guess which group considers transportation more affordable! Coincidence???? Doubtful ! There are numerous similar examples throughout the state. Charter schools can emulate private schools at public cost.
Frank October 16, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Here's some additional information to chew on: CREDO study, Stanford University revealed 17% of charter schools narrowly bested their counterparts. 37% were worse, 46% showed no statistical difference in their academic performance. Let's get back to Calhoun County School District and the Pataula Charter Academy (PCA). Total combined enrollment is roughly 850 students. About 235 of those attend PCA. State Avg. Quality Basic Education (QBE) for K12 students is: $4,290. Approx. 27% of the Calhoun County School District's QBE funding will instead go to PCA (i.e. roughly $1.0 million of $3.7 million). Fixed operating costs for the Calhoun County School District will thus cost more per student thereby placing an additional burden on families who can least afford the increase. Oh... here's the real kick in the pants... didn't yet mention that the state is also going to fund PCA at a higher rate per student at $6,392. That's 1.5 times the rate that the state will fund a student in the Calhoun County School District. So... more funding for those who can afford to transport themselves, less for those who don't along with being saddled with greater fixed expenses. A district's reaction time to this financial nightmare needs to be considered. Surprise - Guess what, we hear the state just approved a state charter school - you have less than 6 months to figure out how to cope with a 30% budget cut! Toodles!


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