Category Archives: T-SPLOST

Support plummeting for charter school amendment

Support for the charter school amendment, previously falling, is now dropping like a rock. Saba Long wrote the Saporta Report 15 October 2012, Latest polls show the Charter School Amendment vote will be close, but the actual poll results, when compared to previous polls, including those before T-SPLOST lost by a landslide, say Amendment 1 is going down in flames.

Georgia Charter School Polls 2012-10

That poll conducted 4 and 5 October showed 34.2% saying they would definitely vote no and 18.06% saying probably no. That’s 52.26% No, which is far higher than 26.2% only a month before.

The pollsters, HEG-GPS, say, Re: October 4-5 Charter School Amendment Survey, 15.35% responded Probably Yes and only 9.30% said Definitely Yes. That’s 24.62% Yes, far down from the 48.3% Yes of a month before.

Yet only 23.12% responded Unsure, which is hardly changed from 25.5% a month before. It sure looks to me like this is not just undecideds switching to No. It looks like a lot of formerly Yes votes are switching to No.

It looks even worse compared to T-SPLOST. Two weeks before the 31 July Primary election, Continue reading

Video of 6 minute meeting @ LCC 2012-10-22

Here’s a single video of this morning’s entire Lowndes County Commission Work Session. The railroad item was neither of the ones on which I was speculating. The animal shelter wants a 24 hour “cooling-off period” with a submitted animal kept at home before “evaluation” by the shelter. The Tax Commissioner wants to refund some taxes they apparently accidentally overcharged. The Fire Chief has bids for equipment for the new fire truck. And there’s going to be an animal health fair. They vote tomorrow evening at 5PM.

Here’s the video, followed by the agenda, with links to the relevant parts of the video, and a few notes.

Video of 6 minute meeting
Work Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 22 October 2012.
Thanks to Dexter Sharper for use of his video camera.

Here’s the annotated agenda:

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Rairoad, animals, taxes, and a fire truck @ LCC 2012-10-22

Five minutes? Or will they discuss any of the four items on the agenda for Monday morning’s Work Session?

What’s the CSX project? CSX in Lowndes County Is it this item from the T-SPLOST constrained project list?

RC11-000071 Construction of St Augustine Road Overpass

That overpass went from $12,000,000 to $14,627,933.04 during the T-SPLOST selection process. On the ground down there on St. Augustine Road it sure looks like people are preparing for an overpass. Has the county found some non-T-SPLOST way to fund that railroad overpass?

Since it’s CSX, I’d guess it’s not this other T-SPLOST project:

RC11-000077 Georgia and Florida Railway (GFRR) — Valdosta to Willacoochee Rehabilitation

The Commission could just post the proposed agreement along with the agenda, and then we’d all know.

WORK SESSION, MONDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2012, 8:30 a.m.
327 N. Ashley Street — 2nd Floor
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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?

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Q: Why are so many states pushing charter schools now? A: ALEC

Michigan, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, plus Georgia. Why are so many states attempting pro or con charter school referendums this year? Because many states have a push for charter schools, especially Louisiana. Where’s that coming from, at the same time in so many states? ALEC, that’s where.

Ed Anderson wrote for The Times-Picayune 12 January 2011, Gov. Bobby Jindal says charter school proposal is based on Florida initiative,

Jindal said his proposal will be fashioned on a Florida law known as “Charter-Schools-in-the-Workplace Initiative” which also has been introduced in 14 other states.

Excuse me? Which “also has been introduced in 14 other states”? Then it’s not just a Florida law, is it? And who introduced it?

Mattreichel wrote for FireDogLake 5 April 2012, Jindal Puts Louisiana’s Schools Up for Sale: ALEC’s Education Reforms Rammed Through

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What other states have had charter school referendums?

Thanks to Jim Galloway, we learned that charter school proponents say “No other state has had a positive outcome for a charter-positive ballot initiative.” OK, what other states have had any sort of charter school referendums? Such ballot initiatives have at least been tried in Massachusetts, Michigan, and Washington.

BallotPedia records some state charter school referendums.


In Massachusetts, charter school proponents couldn’t even get enough signatures to put a pro-charter school referendum on the ballot this year.

The measure would have removed limits on number of charter schools, their funding, and enrollment. Other changes would have been made in laws that governed charter schools, including requiring approval of qualified applications for charter schools to be in districts where there was low student performance.


In Michigan, a referendum to ban for-profit charter schools may be on the ballot in November:

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Support for charter school referendum falling?

A recent poll shows markedly lower support Georgia Charter School Polls for the November charter school referendum than polls in March and July, which were already down from January. At this rate, the charter school referendum can lose as badly in November as T-SPLOST did in July. Maybe people are catching on that diverting local taxes to control by a state appointed body is a bad idea, especially this time when the money would end up going to private profit.

Georgia Family Council wrote, presumably in January, Poll Shows Support for Charter School Changes,

On January 24, the Georgia Charter School Association and My School, My Choice Georgia held a news conference on Capitol Hill to release the results of a new study regarding public school choice….

The new numbers showed that 52 percent of voters are dissatisfied with the public system as it currently stands. A whopping 72 percent feel that a group other than local school boards should be able to authorize charter schools, the basis for HB 881. Moreover, Georgia voters tend to support a “money follows the child” approach to charter school funding.

So there’s a baseline for January for what proponents of charter schools claimed: 72% support for something very like the charter school referendum that ended up on the November ballot.

Or not. That writeup includes a link to, but that domain is no longer registered. This is probably it over on the snazzy new website. The writeup doesn’t mention 72%, and does say:

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Charter school preamble biased like T-SPLOST?

T-SPLOST proponents are up to their old tricks again, starting with the preamble to the charter school referendum. And Bert “Little Goose” Brantley, formerly of Lowndes County, defends that wording.

Paul Crawley wrote for September 12 2012, Is Charter Schools Amendment wording biased?

Here we go again, apparently another ballot issue with questions about whether it’s worded fairly.

First, it was the July 31st transportation sales tax issue, known as T-SPLOST, which Georgia voters rejected overwhelmingly.

Opponents howled when they found out the ballot preamble wording promised to “create jobs” and “relieve traffic congestion”.

Now, opponents of a November ballot question are also crying foul.

They’re upset over the preamble wording for the Charter School Commission Amendment.

It reads, “Provides for improving student achievement and parental involvement through more public charter school options.”

How can the preamble say that?

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“No other state has had a positive outcome for a charter-positive ballot initiative” —former T-SPLOST proponents now pushing charter schools

The same people who pushed the failed T-SPLOST tax referendum on the July primary ballot are now pushing the charter school referendum on the November general election ballot. Four of their leaders are the same specific individuals, including one from right here in Lowndes County. They’re pushing something they admit has failed in every other state. Let’s not be the first to fall for it.

According to the Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA),

No other state has had a positive outcome for a charter-positive ballot initiative

So even one of the major proponents of charter schools admits no other state’s voters have thought they were a good idea. Their slides lay out a pair of statewide major money campaigns to push the referendum anyway.

We know about this because these slides fell into the hands of the AJC, and Jim Galloway published them today, saying:

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WSJ misunderstands why T-SPLOST was defeated

Inaccurate labelling is the reason T-SPLOST was defeated, along with Atlanta is not all of Georgia, but the Wall Street Journal doesn’t understand that.

Cameron McWhirter wrote for the Wall Street Journal 1 August 2012, Tea Party Ties Up Tax to Ease Atlanta Traffic

ATLANTA—Money and heavyweight endorsements don’t secure an election — especially when you propose higher taxes in a deeply conservative state with a robust tea-party movement.

A plan for a transportation sales tax was endorsed by Georgia’s Republican governor and the Democratic mayor of the state’s largest city. It was backed by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the area’s top businesses. It was pushed by top political consultants funded by more than $8 million in corporate and other donations.

Those against the plan were a loose coalition of tea-party activists, some environmentalists and a local branch of the NAACP. Their total raised? About $15,000.

But David slew Goliath.

That’s lazy reporting. Those “some environmentalists” included the Georgia Sierra Club, an organization which reportedly has more members than the state Democratic Party. And that’s just in Atlanta.

Opponents in our region included Democrat Ashley Paulk, who was on the T-SPLOST executive committee and is the current Chairman of the Lowndes County Commission, Democrat Gretchen Quarterman, who is the Chairman of the Lowndes County Democratic Party (LCDP) and is running for Chairman of the Lowndes County Commission, as well as Nolen Cox, Chairman of the Lowndes County Republican Party (LCRP), and Roy Taylor, LRCP First Vice Chair and well-known Tea Party activist, along with a wide range of other opponents.

Look at the difference between that Region 11 T-SPLOST vote map and this map of the Atlanta Metro T-SPLOST vote. Atlanta metro is clearly centered around Atlanta. Region 11 isn’t an economic region: the vote was split right down the middle between No on the east and west and Yes in between.

Region 11 throws together three population centers: Lowndes, Tift, and Ware Counties, with their largest cities Valdosta, Tifton, and Waycross. Lowndes and Tift are at least connected by I-75, and they and most of the ones around them voted against (Ben Hill, Turner, Berrien, Cook, Lanier, Echols, and Brooks). Ware County and all the counties east of it (Pierce, Brantley, and Charlton) voted against. In between there’s a complete barrier of counties that voted for T-SPLOST (Irwin, Coffee, Bacon, Atkinson, and Clinch). Those No counties completely separate the eastern Ware County group from the western Lowndes-Tift group.

The perception around here is that T-SPLOST was made up to affect metro Atlanta, and the rest of the regions were Continue reading