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Opponents of charter school law wonder what comes next

1:40 PM, Nov 8, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- While supporters of the charter school amendment approved by voters on Tuesday look to move forward, opponents are still hoping to halt any movement toward fulfilling the law.

RELATED | Charter school amendment passes, battle not over
MORE | Complete elections coverage

Last week, before the vote, a teacher from Dalton and a minister from DeKalb County sued in hopes of getting an injunction against the amendment.

They're waiting to see what happens next with that case.

In the meantime, some opponents believe voters didn't fully understand the ballot question.

"That misleading language was a huge factor," said Gwinnett County Schools Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks, who led the initial lawsuit two years ago that ended with the Supreme Court striking down the Charter Commission.

Wilbanks said voters didn't understand the Amendment One question, which stated, "Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of charter schools at the request of local communities."

"Who's going to vote against that?" said Rev. Timothy McDonald of First Iconium Baptist Church, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Supt. Wilbanks said school districts must wait and see what the amendment means for them, especially as they deal with austerity cuts that have left them financially strapped. If new charter schools are established by the state, they would get a portion of those funds.

"So, where is the money coming from when two-thirds of the school districts operate less than 180 days and teachers are furloughed?" said Wilbanks. "Class sizes are up. Money for staff development is almost non-existent."

But, charter school proponents say they just want a piece of the education pie any public school children would get if they remained at their traditional schools.

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