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Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 1:30pm

Charter School Bill Compromise

State Republicans and Democrats say they’ve reached a compromise on a controversial charter school bill. The new version of the constitutional amendment would stipulate that funding for public schools would not be reduced to pay for state charter schools.

The bill would allow Georgians to vote on whether the state should approve charter schools.

Republicans and Democrats have been meeting since the bill failed last week to gain the two-thirds majority required for a constitutional amendment.

Democrats and some rural Republican lawmakers expressed concern that the largely GOP-backed bill would rob local schools of much-needed funding.

Rep. Alisha Morgan is an Atlanta Democrat who co-sponsored the amendment. She says that problem has been resolved.

“In the new version of the constitutional amendment, essentially only state funds could be used and local funds could not be adjusted in any way to fund the state charter schools,” she said.

The measure would override a Georgia Supreme Court ruling that banned the state’s charter school commission. If the amendment passes both chambers, it will go before voters in November.

Many school boards oppose the bill, and some Democrats say the bill is puzzling because its Republicans sponsors typically favor smaller state government.

The amendment could come up for a second vote as early as Friday but lawmakers say it's likely it will be delayed until next week.

The first vote broke only partially along party lines. Seven Democrats sided with the GOP while nine Republicans voted against the measure.