Lawmakers in Georgia are set to pass a tweaked Constitutional amendment to offer more school choice options by allowing the state to weigh in on local charter school decisions after the state House originally failed to pass it.
The state House failed to pass the proposed amendment during a vote on Feb. 8, falling 10 votes shy of the required two-thirds majority needed, writes Kelly Quimby at the Times-Georgian.
But now, after some tweaks, in what legislators are calling a bipartisan compromise, the resolution is set to be passed.
Rep. Randy Nix, R-LaGrange, a member of the House Education Committee, said:
"The purpose of HR 1162 is to reestablish the partnership between the state and local school boards that existed before the Supreme Court decision – a healthy partnership that is vital to education in our state.
"House Resolution 1162 is a constitutional issue. It is not strictly about local school boards or local control. It is about the Supreme Court overstepping its bounds and leaving our state education system in limbo."
This comes after the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that the Georgia Charter Schools Commission was not constitutionally able to override local boards' charter school decisions.
In the majority opinion, the justices pointed out that the state constitution charges local school boards with managing general K-12 education; therefore, no other government agency may exercise overreaching control over it.
Sandra Morris, District 2 Representative for the Carroll County Board of Education, said:
"We have very good public schools, and Carroll County is one of the best school systems.
"We want [legislators] to be careful about [what they're doing] with charter schools. One thing that I would be concerned about is if you were to start a charter school you must use certified teachers. I can't find that anywhere in the legislation. I think it's something to be concerned about, and it's something we need to keep up with because there's a lot of money being spent on education, we're short on a lot of money, and we want to make sure we use the money we do have to ensure that kids are getting the best education possible."
Georgia Sen. Mike Crane, R-Newnan supports the new resolution, believes that families should have more choice on where their children get their education.
"I understand the school system's response to it, and I understand where individuals would like to see more choice available to them.
"We have systems that continue to provide mediocre results while costs for education increase dramatically. Parents would like to see more opportunities to educate their kids, they would like more options aside from just one public school."