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Exclusive 11Alive News poll on charter school amendment

9:41 PM, Oct 29, 2012   |    comments
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  • Georgia now has 177 charter schools.
  • Charter Schools continue to grow in popularity in Georgia.
  • Charter School Amendment on ballot
    

ATLANTA - A new Survey-USA poll commissioned by 11Alive News shows one out of three Georgia voters surveyed have still not made up their minds about the Charter School Amendment on next week's ballot.

When asked how certain they were about the amendment, 38 percent said they would vote 'Yes', 29 percent said 'No' and 33 percent were 'Uncertain'.

RELATED | Read the 11Alive News-Survey USA poll on the charter school amendment

Just a few months ago some polls showed almost two to one support to create a new state Charter School Commission, but this latest poll suggests a shifting of opinion, with some voters changing their minds and many still not sure how to vote.

Part of the reason could be the bipartisan nature of the battle with Democrats and Republicans as well as liberals and conservatives on both sides.

Most on both sides support the basic concept of charter schools.

But they differ over who should approve them, local school boards or a state commission with the power to overrule those local boards.

"Our people have been misled, deceived, and plain out lied to about what this amendment is really about," Rev. Timothy McDonald claimed Monday.

He joined other members of Atlanta's Concerned Black Clergy to condemn the amendment and a power grab.

"It's really about state control of charter schools," McDonald added.

A short time later a strange coalition of some tea party members, the NAACP, the State Legislative Black Caucus and the Georgia PTA joined together at the State Capitol to voice their opposition.

The same kind of diversity can be found among supporters, like African American conservative Rich Thompson.

"This amendment is about providing more control to parents," he told 11Alive.

"It doesn't give the government more power," Thompson claimed.

Interestingly, the new 11Alive Survey-USA poll shows the one third undecided is pretty consistent across the board, regardless of racial, political or educational differences.

Meanwhile, yet another lawsuit has been filed over the controversial amendment.

Two earlier ones failed to keep state and local education officials from campaigning against it.

The latest, filed Monday by Rev. Tim McDonald and Dalton teacher Beverly Hedges, challenges the amendment's preamble wording on the ballot as misleading.

They want a court to block enforcement of the state charter school commission if voters approve the measure.

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