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Local BOE's Support Charter School Lawsuit
Tuesday, 20 October 2009

October 20--  School boards in Vidalia and Toombs County have passed resolutions supporting lawsuits against the state over money for charter schools.

"Not only are they taking federal and state funds on a per child basis away from local school systems, they are also taking the equivalent of local funds and that is just not right," says Vidalia School Superintendent Dr. Tim Smith.

The Georgia School Board Association is asking all public school systems in the state to approve resolutions in support of a lawsuit filed by school boards in Candler and Bulloch counties.  They claim Statesboro's Charter Conservatory for Liberal Arts and Technology is operating under an invalid charter and is receiving $367,464 in state money which was meant for Bulloch schools, and over $1,500 from Candler County schools for the one student who attends the charter school.

State School Superintendent Kathy Cox wouldn't comment on the suit during a recent visit to Toombs County.  "I really can't comment on the merits of the case since we are a party in that suit because my job as state superintendent is to carry out the law.  It will be up to the judicial system to interpret that law and I think that's what local school systems want, an interpretation of the law. We'll just see what the courts have to say about the law as compared to the constitution," she said.

In Dr. Smith's opinion, the law which created the state Charter School Commission is unconstitutional. 

"This bill is one more opportunity for the powers that be in Atlanta to erode more local control away from the people who have been elected to run the school systems.  I don't think it's right.  I think decisions that pertain to the children in Vidalia need to be made by people who are much closer to the situation than Atlanta," he said.

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