Georgia Voters to Decide on Charter School Commission in November
Posted on Tuesday March 20, 2012 | Georgia
Atlanta, Ga. (March 20, 2012)—The Georgia ballot this November will include a proposed constitutional amendment that would reinstate a key authorizing commission of charter schools, giving voters the final decision in a long-fought education reform debate.
The State Senate on Monday passed House Resolution 1162, a major step in overturning the State Supreme Court’s May 2011 decision that struck down a state commission charged with authorizing charter schools.
Both the State Senate and the House passed the legislation with the required two-thirds majority. The Senate approved the measure with yesterday’s 40-16 vote and the House of Representatives last month approved the measure 123-48. The proposed constitutional amendment now heads to a state referendum, where two-thirds of voters must approve the measure.
The American Federation for Children—the nation’s voice for school choice—praised Georgia legislators for giving voters the opportunity to restore this important avenue for creating greater parental choice in the state.
Last year, the state Supreme Court ruled that the Georgia Charter Schools Commission was unconstitutional after seven school districts brought a lawsuit against the state.
The Georgia Charter School Commission was a state-level, independent charter school authorizing board that was able to approve charter schools that had been denied approval at the local level.
At the time of the ruling, charter schools approved by the Commission were in existence and educating thousands of students across Georgia. If voters fail to pass the constitutional amendment, Georgia would become the first state in the nation to displace students due to closing an entity that approves charter schools.
Reestablishing the Commission would significantly strengthen the educational options in Georgia, a state that currently educates more than 48,000 children in charter schools and more than 11,000 children in two publicly funded private school choice programs.