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Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 12:00pm

Poll: GA Divided On Charter Schools

In November, Georgia’s voters will not only choose who they want in the White House. The ballot will also include a question on whether to amend Georgia’s constitution so the state can approve and provide funding for charter schools.

A new poll that shows that Georgia voters are closely divided on the measure.

Half of the 1300 people surveyed support changing the state constitution to allow the state to grant charters to schools over the objections of local school boards. About a quarter of respondents are opposed to the measure and around the same number are undecided.

Todd Rehm with Sand Mountain Communications released the poll. He says it’s all going to come down to language on the November ballot:

“But as we saw in the TSPLOST, there may be some pre-amble language that basically says, ‘In order to do X, Y and Z, this amendment is offered to the voters,’ so I think that people on both sides of the issue need to pay attention to how the preamble is written because I think that will probably affect the outcome of the vote.”

Opponents have argued that the state would steal control from local school boards. Mark Peezy is coordinating the pro-charter schools campaign working to educate voters on the issue:

“Our effort is focused on getting the right information into the hands of the decision makers, i.e, the parents, so they can understand why this is important for them and how it works in their community and more importantly in their family’s lives.”

Both sides of the charter school issue have been raising money for a campaign, but so far, there has not been any public advertising.

If voters approve the constitutional amendment, it would override a Georgia Supreme Court decision banning the state charter school commission.