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So what do those ballot amendments really mean?

9:00 AM, Nov 6, 2012   |    comments
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Video: So what do those ballot amendments really mean?

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ATLANTA -- As usual, Georgia voters are being confronted with some Constitutional Amendments on this year's General Election ballot.

And, as usual, many aren't sure what they mean.

Here's a simple explainer for you.

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

Confused?

If so, you're not alone.

As we reported a few days ago, 11Alive's exclusive Survey-USA opinion poll found that one-third of voters surveyed still weren't sure how they'll vote.

Here's what it means in a nutshell.

Who should control the creation of charter schools in Georgia?

It's not about whether you like charter schools, but who gets to approve them.

Right now that decision is up to individual local school boards.

This amendment would create a Georgia Charter Schools Commission that could overrule a local school board's decision.

We had a state charter school commission until the courts ruled it unconstitutional a couple of years ago.

That's why those wanting to bring it back have created a constitutional amendment.

AMENDMENT TWO: "Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide for a reduction in the state's operating costs by allowing the General Assembly to authorize certain state agencies to enter into multi-year rental agreements?"

In a nutshell, longer leases are usually cheaper.

If you've ever rented an apartment, you know a year or even six month lease is a better deal than renting month to month.

Several state agencies rent property, but since the state does its budget year to year, it's not legally allowed to enter into more than a one year lease.

Supporters say this amendment will save taxpayers millions of dollars in the long run.

Opponents say it could mean getting stuck in long term bad deals or could open the door to corrupt patronage that's harder to end.

As usual, critics of these amendments say they are worded to encourage "yes" votes, especially the preamble wording.

There's even a lawsuit over Amendment One's preamble, which is called misleading.

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

Now, who wouldn't want to vote for that?

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