The creation of a Georgia Charter Commission would lead to an erosion of local tax dollars and an inequality of education in DeKalb County and other local school districts, DeKalb County Board of Education member Gene Walker said this week.
In a column published in Neighbor Newspapers, the board chair and District 9 representative said a charter school commission run by the state would siphon $430 million from local school districts and cherry pick the best students in each system, leaving the poorest and most troubled students to the leadership of under-funded school districts.
A revival of such a commission will be on the ballot on Election Day. The referendum seeks to ammend the Georgia Constitution to allow the state government to share oversight of local education.
From the column:
It goes without saying that in our current economy, local school systems cannot take a $430 million hit from the get-go, and be able to continue to provide a quality education for all students. The children of the rich will always be able to afford to go to any lengths to attend the best schools. Children of lesser means will be trapped into the underfunded remains of a once-great school system. This referendum places us back on the path to separate and very unequal educational system. No, children won’t be divided on the pure basis of race, but on the basis of economic class.
Read the column in Neighbor Newspapers for the rest.
Walker, however, said he does support the system's existing charter schools, which are funded through the school system.
Walker's superdistrict includes the North Druid Hills area, including nearby communities such as Oak Grove.
If you're unfamiliar with the debate over the charter schools ammendment, check out this story in CrossRoads News published last week. From the story:
Here’s the bottom line:
Local school systems already are the approval body for charter schools. So there’s nothing new there.
What’s in question is whether the Georgia Charter Schools Commission should be revived as an “alternate authorizer” of charter schools and be allowed to override local school boards’ denials of charter school petitions with charters of its own.
What do you think about Walker's column? Do you support a state charter commission? How will you vote Nov. 6? Tell us in the comments section below.