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Prior to the vote and passage of the Charter School Amendment, Colquitt County School Board member Mary Beth Watson stated in her letter to the editor that “state charter schools will receive more state funding than their local counterparts.”
What she didn’t point out, however, was that state charter schools would receive no local funding and therefore would net less funds than a local public system.
Also, a recent item in the Rants and Rave section of The Moultrie Observer stated in part “Passing the Charter School Amendment will affect the budget of the local school board. If a charter school is initiated then they will get local money.”
To clear up these statements, let me quote Mr. David Werner, who serves as the governor’s chief of staff for Legislative and External Affairs. Excerpts from his letter to the Atlanta Journal/Constitution are as follows:
“Information sent to local school superintendents claimed that charter schools receive more funding than traditional public schools. As you all know, no local tax money flows to state special charter schools.
“Local school superintendents and board members were adamantly opposed to any local dollars going to charter schools that were denied by a local school board and, after extensive debate, the final version of HB 797 was negotiated to ensure that this was the case.
The fact remains that these special charter schools operate without local dollars so while their state funds appear higher they will receive only 62 percent of the total amount spent in traditional public schools.”
Mr. Werner further states that, “The cuts that Gov. Deal has asked agencies to begin planning for do not call for additional reductions in the K-12 funding formula.”
This amendment also states that it “further prohibits the deduction of certain state funds from local school districts as a direct result or consequence of the enrollment of students in state charter schools.”