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State Rep. Wilkerson Voting No on Charter School Amendment

If approved, the amendment will allow for the creation of a non-elected board and a million-dollar government agency.

Today, State Representative David Wilkerson (D- Austell) announced his continued opposition to Amendment #1 on the November ballot.  Commonly known as the "Charter School Amendment", the amendment will allow for the creation of a non-elected board and a million dollar government agency.  The non-elected board would only be appointed by the Governor, Speaker of the House, and the Senate President.

Local school boards and the State Board of Education can currently approve charter schools.  This will not change.  More than 100 charters schools are approved in Georgia and will remain even if the amendment is defeated.

The amendment is being pushed by out-of-state charter school businesses and others including Alice Walton of the Walmart family. Walton personally gave $250,000 to help pay for radio commercials, billboards, and print mailers in Georgia.  She has also given over $1.7 million to pass legislation in Washington State.

 "The proposed amendment is not aimed at raising student achievement in Georgia, nor is it about school choice" said Wilkerson. "It is about money.  This is about an expansion of powers that will allow the state to access local tax dollars without the consent of school boards and taxpayers."

The amendment is opposed by groups including Georgia PTA, the NAACP, and all leading educational groups including Georgia Association of Educators, Georgia Federation of Teachers, Professional Association of Georgia Educators, and the Georgia School Boards Association. State School Superintendent John Barge and Rev. Joseph Lowery have also announced their opposition to creating another level of government based in Atlanta.

 "Nobody understands our schools better than our local communities," said Wilkerson. "I am proud to stand with all of those fighting for our 1.6 million children in public schools by opposing this blatant attempt to take resources from our traditional public schools."

Those Opposing Amendment #1

Georgia Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
Georgia State School Superintendent John Barge
Georgia Association of Educational Leaders
Georgia Association of Educators
Georgia Association of School Psychologist
Georgia Federation of Teachers
Georgia Music Educators Association
Georgia Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
Georgia Retired Educators Association
Georgia School Boards Association
Georgia School Superintendents Association
League of Women Voters of GA
Members of Georgia Legislative Black Caucus
Professional Association of Georgia Educators
Southern Education Foundation

Anyone is welcome to be a Patch Local Voice. Email michael.stone@patch.com if you're interested.

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