September 8, 2016 2:39 PM
Governor Nathan Deal provided some hints as to what might drive his final years in office in a 45 minute address to school board members and school superintendents at today’s Georgia Education Leadership Institute. According to Ty Tagami of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the governor plans to focus on education policy to finish off his term. One item on his agenda, which many had expected to see addressed during the 2016 session, is an overhaul of the school funding formula. Deal told the educators that if a district would end up losing funding under the new formula, there would be a hold harmless clause to protect them.
The governor also made a pitch for November’s constitutional amendment enabling an Opportunity School District:
Deal unleashed his sharpest words on critics of his proposed constitutional amendment to create an “Opportunity School District.” The Nov. 8 ballot item would take away some of the control of education long endowed in locally-elected school boards. If voters approve it, the amendment will allow the state to take over “chronically failing” schools — schools that Deal said have trapped mostly poor, “voiceless” and minority children for generations.
Nearly 68,000 kids are compelled by law to attend these 127 schools, Deal said. “If you think that’s right, then vote against the constitutional amendment.”
Several local school boards, including Barrow County, have expressed their disappointment with the constitutional amendment, claiming that it takes away local control of schools.