SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. -- One of the central questions that voters have about a proposal for Charter Schools that is on the ballot is this: who would control the Charter Schools if the proposal passes?
At a town hall meeting Monday night in Sandy Springs, organized by the Fulton County Republican Party, the 6th Congressional District GOP, and the Atlanta Tea Party, advocates on both sides of the debate had different answers.
On one side -- parents opposed to the Charter Schools amendment. They said that from their research, the plan would give ultimate authority for state-chartered schools to an unelected state commission which, they said, would operate under the authority of the State School Board, and exclude local elected school boards and parents from oversight and control.
On the other side -- parents in favor of the Charter Schools amendment. They said that the plan would simply put existing state law into the state constitution. They said that parents and others who apply to create a charter school would, if the local school board rejects their application, be able to do what they can do now -- appeal the ruling to a state commission and, ultimately, to the state school board, and the state would have the power to uphold or overrule the local school board ruling. Their experience, they said, with charter schools now is that the state leaves parents alone to run the state charter schools locally, without interference.