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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

State schools superintendent — who's a Republican, by the way — comes out against charter school amendment

State School Superintendent John Barge
  • GA DOE
  • State School Superintendent John Barge
You'd think that Georgia's Republican schools superintendent from the exurbs who's halfway into his first term would endorse an amendment to Georgia's Constitution that would grant the state the power to authorize charter schools. You'd be wrong.

Georgia Schools Superintendent John Barge tells the AJC he's opposing the measure. He says in a statement to the paper:

"I cannot support the creation of a new and costly state bureaucracy that takes away local control of schools and unnecessarily duplicates the good work already being done by local districts, the Georgia Department of Education, and the state Board of Education," Barge said in a prepared statement. "What's more, this constitutional amendment would direct taxpayer dollars into the pockets of out-of-state, for-profit charter school companies whose schools perform no better than traditional public schools and locally approved charter schools (and worse, in some cases)."

Barge said the passage of the amendment, the restoration of the Georgia Charter Schools Commission and state funding for the charter schools it approves would be too costly for the state.

""Until all of our public school students are in school for a full 180-day school year, until essential services like student transportation and student support can return to effective levels, and until teachers regain jobs with full pay for a full school year, we should not redirect one more dollar away from Georgia's local school districts — much less an additional $430 million in state funds, which is what it would cost to add seven new state charter schools per year over the next five years (the annual average of the Charter Commission that would be revived if the amendment passes)," Barge's statement read.

Superintendent Barge, if you notice such charter school boosters as Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock hovering over your home in a black helicopter, please don't hesitate to call us.

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