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report print email Source: Editorial: OPINION: Charter amendment doesn’t add up to choice, only bureaucracy
Amendment #1
November 02, 2012 | 12:00 PM

Thank you for this article, which points out the fallacy of the proponents on this measure. Let me point out a couple more.

Charter school applications are not accepted by a local school board because they do not include a sustainable business plan. Running schools requires resources, and when the charter applicant cannot predict cash flows or does not have a site and its costs identified, local boards of education tend to back away.

Non acceptance can include other reasons such as the proposal contains unreliable curriculum, does not include or violates state or federal requirements, duplicates what is already available in the current schools and therefore is not 'special', deadlines were not met, etc. Running a school is complicated, and if the applicant cannot or will not read the policies and rules applicable to charter applications and abide thereby, applicants will not be approved at the local level or at the state board of education level.

I was particularly interested in your explanation of teachers in charter schools. A charter school teacher can be any adult. No degree or diploma is required. Could even be a high school dropout. This information was shared by a director of the Professional Standards Commission which certifies teachers and knows what all the requirements are.

Dr. Scafidi's assertion that school district bureaucracies are blotted is not held up by facts. Most school systems are small, and everyone in the central office wears multiple hats. For larger school systems, which have larger property taxes bases, they have the ability to offload some duties from local schools to the district budget, so that local schools can operate less expensively. Also, such things as health benefits an required to be coded in the Central Office budgets. If a charter school does not offer health benefits to its employees, of course they would have no such expense. Local schools don't have that option, and the rates are set by the state health plan.

Most of these state chartered schools are run by out of state for-profit companies. Where do the profits come from? The services offered to the students, of course. Cheaper services, like teacher salaries and few benefits, allow these firms to pay dividends to their shareholders and contribute to legislators reelection campaigns. Every major sponsor of this legislation has received such contributions. Check the Ethics.ga.gov web site.

And this issue is not about parent choice. Parents already have choice -- public, private, or home schooling, any public school serving the students needs within the district. The real issue is Who Pays for a parent's choice. When the parent pays, the student can go wherever he wants. When the taxpayers pay, there are rules, period.

Know ALL the facts before you vote.



Sally FitzGereald
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