In the second proposed constitutional amendment, the Georgia General Assembly is asking residents for permission to approve multi-year property leases instead of agreements that must be renewed each year.
The idea is that agencies working out of rented offices will get better rental rates if they can negotiate longterm leases.
“The argument against it is that we have one-year budgets, so you’re sort of tieing the hands of future General Assemblies,” said Alan Essig, executive director of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Georgia Budget & Policy Institute. “But this is a basic business practice. … We’re not moving (the offices) every year, so their hands are somewhat tied anyway.”
A constitutional amendment that would allow an appointed state board to approve local charter schools has sparked more disagreement.
The ballot language references “state or local approval,” but the enabling legislation, House Resolution 1162, is aimed at solidifying the General Assembly’s “authority to establish special schools” including state charter schools.
Battle lines have been drawn by opposing factions, and Mike Morton of the Rome Tea Party said even his close-knit group is divided.
“There are somewhat more who are for the amendment, but some are against it, and even more are undecided,” he said.
That’s why the organization is sponsoring a free town hall-style educational forum from 6:30 to 8 p.m. tonight at Grace Bible Church, 614 Old Dalton Road.
“Hopefully, the panel will be able to dispel the myths and answer people’s questions about what the amendment would do,” Morton said.
The organization has enlisted three speakers in support of the proposal and two against, although Morton said he may cut the panel to four so the sides are even.
On the “pro” side are state Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, and state House Rep. Ed Setzler, R-Acworth.
Julie Smith, regional director of the Brighter Georgia Education Coalition, also will speak of the value of public charter schools — although the nonprofit is barred from taking a stand on any ballot question.
Explaining the pitfalls will be Diane Coker, a former Bartow County school board member and vice chair of the Georgia School Boards Association, and Ricky Thomas, a former Bartow elections board member and county GOP chair.
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