Georgia State School Superintendent John Barge announced Tuesday that he opposes a state constitutional amendment to expand the state’s power to open charter schools.
Barge is breaking rank with top state Republicans who support the amendment, including Governor Nathan Deal and House of Representatives Speaker David Ralston.
The amendment would allow the state to approve and fund charter schools that have already been rejected by their local school boards. Supporters say this will increase the number of high-quality schools in the state.
Barge says he supports charter schools opened by their local school districts. But he says he’s concerned about the impact that state funding of charters would have on traditional school districts, which have seen deep cuts in state funding.
"And so I cannot fathom taking any increase in state revenue and sending it to other schools that run parallel, without beginning to restore some of these cuts that have local school districts on the verge of bankruptcy," Barge says.
Barge had not previously voiced an opinion on the proposed amendment.