Voters statewide and in Troup County on Tuesday approved state constitutional amendments that will allow the state to approve charter schools and setup a commission to consider applications for charter schools, and enter into multi-year lease agreements.
Troup County voters favored constitutional amendment 1, known as the charter schools amendment, 14,707 to 9,949, about 60 percent in favor of the amendment. Those numbers reflect statewide sentiment, with nearly 2.2 million votes, 58.5 percent of voters, supporting the amendment.
The amendment was proposed after the state Supreme Court struck down a previous state commission to consider appeals for charter schools, saying it was unconstitutional. Local school boards have the first say on whether to allow a charter school, which already could be appealed to the state Board of Education, and according to local Board of Education officials, the amendment takes away local control and potential local funds for public schools.
“I would ask you to give a ‘no pass’ vote a strong consideration,” Board of Education John Darden told people during October’s board meeting.
Any charter school established in Troup County would receive funding from the state, which local school officials say will take away from the already smaller piece of the pie that public schools are receiving. Since fiscal year 2003, the state has cut $53.5 million of Quality Basic Education funding for public education in the Troup County School System, officials said.
Constitutional amendment 2 asked whether state agencies could enter into multi-year lease agreements on buildings, a measure meant to save money over the current practice of renegotiating on a yearly basis. State officials said allowing agencies to make multi-year agreements will be cheaper in the long run.
The amendment passed with more then 2.2 million votes statewide, almost 64 percent approval, and Troup voters supported the measure 14,500 to 9,102, about 61 percent approval.