November 7, 2012

Georgia voters OK charter schools amendment

By BILL BARROW, Associated Press

ATLANTA — Georgians have approved a constitutional amendment that would allow a new state board to issue charters for private operators to run independent public schools.

With 94 percent of precincts reporting, 1.89 million voters — or 58 percent — supported the proposal. A total of 1.37 million or 42 percent opposed it.

Gov. Nathan Deal and school choice advocates pitched the amendment as a way to give Georgia families more educational options. State Superintendent John Barge led educator groups in opposition, saying it would lessen local control and siphon public money away from existing schools.

Control over charters now rests mostly with local school boards, though operators who are denied can appeal to the state Board of Education. Georgia has about 200 charter schools already. They will not be immediately affected by the outcome.