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GCPS Superintendent: Georgia 'Has Become Our Opponent' in Education

Wilbanks' statement on Charter School Amendment cites 'efforts by some to ... dismantle public education.'

Gwinnett Schools Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks has issued a statement expressing disappointment that Georgia voters passed the Charter Schools Amendment on Tuesday (November 6).

The state's voters, by a strong majority, approved Amendment One, which allows for state officials to approve publicly funded charter schools, without the permission of local school boards.

Wilbanks' statement said the amendment "is not in the best interest of students and public education in this state."

-- How do you feel about the Charter Schools Amendment passing? Do you feel the Gwinnett system should remain the sole authority for charter schools in this county? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

"We are disappointed that with the passage of Amendment 1 the state, rather than being our partner, has become our opponent in the all-important work of educating the state’s children," the statement read.

The Gwinnett system, which is the state's largest with more than 162,000 students, has two charter schools within its ranks. New Life Academy of Excellence and Lawrenceville's  are set up by GCPS according to charter school rules.

However, the recent controversy over Peachtree Corners-based Ivy Prep Academy, an all-girls charter school, shows the controversial nature of the just-passed amendment.

Ivy Prep operated under GCPS control from mid-2011 until January 2012. It continues to operate as a State Charter Special School, according to the Georgia DOE website.

Wilbanks' statement added: "The intentionally misleading ballot language, the massive amounts of money that poured in from out of state companies to promote the amendment, and the brazen attempts to silence the opposing voices were too much for our significantly less-well-funded grassroots campaign to overcome."

"I do need to thank those many Georgians who with their “no” votes rejected the efforts by some to privatize, defund, and dismantle public education."

Already, one lawsuit has been filed against the amendment, and ballot language is cited. (See link below.)

For Wilbanks' complete statement, visit the Gwinnett schools' website.

RexJ November 10, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Thank you, Mr. Wilbanks, for your continued efforts! Our children deserve schools that are fully funded. Years of budget cuts have hampered our schools, yet hard-working teachers continue to help students continue to achieve more. Now we have a new school system run by the governor. I'm sure there will be no shortage of funds for the governors' schools. I guess the rest of the kids will just have to live with schools cutting budgets.

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