GA State attorney general tries to order private citizens not to oppose charter school amendment

Pushers of the charter school amendment must be desperate! Blurring the line between public officials and private citizens, state Attorney General Sam Olens wrote:

Local school boards do not have the legal authority to expend funds or other resources to advocate or oppose the ratification of a constitutional amendment by the voters. They may not do this directly or indirectly through associations to which they may belong….

As Jim Galloway wrote yesterday for the AJC in Sam Olens orders local school boards to stay out of charter school fight,

That means organizations like the Georgia School Boards Association, and perhaps, the Georgia School Superintendents Association, would be barred from speaking out against the proposed constitutional amendment.

And would that include organizations like PAGE, which produced the slides that a local middle school teacher used last week? What about that teacher, or Dr. Troy Davis, speaking a few weeks earlier, both on their own time?

Olens’ letter would apply to what the VDT said was in the VBOE and LCBOE joint resolution, at least the part about “The resolution explicitly states that the boards are asking voters to not support the Constitutional Amendment relative to state charter schools.”

But what does Olens mean, duly elected local school boards don’t have authority to express opinions about educational matters that would directly affect the people who elected them?

Why has Sam Olens suddenly gotten religion about this now, after he was silent last year when both VBOE and LCBOE adopted resolutions against the school “unification” referendum? Where was he when both boards of education hosted numerous forums opposing consolidation?

Will he next be telling the Valdosta City Council it can’t pass a resolution opposing a referendum? What exactly is the difference between that elected body and an elected school board as far as expressing such an opinion? And all of those resolutions were non-binding opinions.

Will Sam Olens next be telling the VDT it can’t editorialize against the charter school amendment?

How desperate are the pushers of the charter school amendment?

Maybe they know that the school “unification” referendum, financed 10 to 1 in favor of passing, still got voted down 4 to 1.

Maybe they know that T-SPLOST, also with massive funding, also with a biased preamble like the charter school referendum, and pushed by many of the same people, lost in a landslide.

Where was he when numerous local elected officials spoke out against T-SPLOST?

Where, for that matter, was Olens when the “Constitutional Amendments Publication Board…comprised of the Governor, Speaker (of the House) and Lt. Governor” spent tax-paid time writing that biased preamble to the charter school referendum, eerily echoing school privatization Parent Trigger jargon?

I don’t think Olens’ letter has anything to do with legalities of elected officials expressing opinions. I think it has to do with the charter school amendment being maybe the last privatization straw the people will tolerate.

The people of Georgia already wised up to private prisons; even the one proposed for Lowndes County has been cancelled. It’s many of the same organizations pushing school privatization (hi, ALEC!) and for the same reason: private profit at public expense.

A left-right coalition such as defeated T-SPLOST is already forming against this charter school amendment. The pushers see it’s pass this one or the jig is up for school privatization in Georgia. That means we’re winning.

I think the privatization pushers are running scared.

Vote No on the charter school referendum in November.