Confused over the Charter School Amendment?

6:41 PM, Oct 31, 2012   |    comments
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Ivey Prepatory Charter School

ATLANTA -- If you're confused about Amendment One on this year's general election ballot, you're not alone.

Wednesday we asked some early voters in Cobb County what they thought of the wording, which asks:

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

"It was a bit confusing," said voter Brett Atkinson.

Voter Larshaun Williams said she would not have understood it without doing a lot of homework first.

"Definitely," she told 11 Alive, "I would not have known which direction to go."

Even more confusing to some is the wording of the preamble, just before the actual amendment question:

"Provides for improving student achievement and parental involvement through more public charter school options."

There's now a lawsuit claiming that preamble wording is misleading in favor of the amendment.

To make it a little easier to understand, we're going to simplify it a bit.

A charter school is a public school that's run more like a private school, with more control over its curriculum and how it operates.

Normally they're approved by a local school board.

But the amendment would set up a State Charter School Commission that would have final say and could overrule a local school board's decision if it denies a charter school request.

At stake is a lot of money.

Critics of the commission say it would divert state funds to those charter schools, funds that are needed for normal public schools.

They also say many out of state private companies supporting the amendment will make money helping run those charter schools.

Supporters of the amendment say many local school officials oppose it because they want total control over how money is spent on school children.

If you want to learn more about what charter schools are and how they operate, you can find a resource page on our Help Desk link.

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