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Charter School Amendment - Sam Olens - What About GCSA?

The Georgia Charter Schools Assocation receives public resources in the form of membership dues? Why are they allowed to advocate?

Dear Attorney General Olens,

I read with interest your letter to State Superintendent Dr. Barge posted on 10/3 in Jim Galloway's column http://bit.ly/T1zoI1. You have advised Dr. Barge that school boards are prohibited by law from opposing or advocating the ratification of a constitutional amendment, directly or indirectly through their associations, because they are using public resources to do so.

I would like to know how this decision applies to the Georgia Charter Schools Association who is actively involved in promoting passage of this amendment. The GCSA receives membership dues from charter schools in the state. Please refer to the 2010 - 990 Form here http://bit.ly/T1zoI1. On page 9, Part VIII, Statement of Revenue, it shows on line 1. b. Membership Dues  $81,050. These membership dues are from public charter schools, which receive the majority of their funding from public resources.

I feel it is essential to ask the Georgia Charter Schools Association to cease their advocacy in favor of this amendment. I am not aware of any stipulation of a percentage threshold of public resources received, which would allow or disallow advocacy in this case. Please advise the good voters of Georgia if there is one.

Thank you for your timely consideration in this important and sensitive matter. I apologize for asking this is in a blog but it is really the only avenue left for a parent without a lawyer on retainer to be heard in this particular case.

Elizabeth Hooper

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Chris October 09, 2012 at 07:00 PM
This writer seems to want to apply rules for government organizations to apply to everyone. Why? Perhaps the rules should apply to her as well. Open records request for you Elizabeth ... turn over all your tax returns and medial records for the world to see. Crazy, right? Exactly, because private nonprofit organizations are not governments and the rules don't apply to them. And the membership dues they receive cease to government dollars once they are paid over. Do you expect Exxon to become subject to government laws merely because a police officer fills up his gas tank there one day. Or how about the grocery store the mayor shops at ... his salary was tax dollars so everyone who receives that money should be subject to your same silly rule. As a taxpayer, your rights to how those dollars are used stops once they are no longer government assets. There's a clear difference whether you like it or not. And while I appreciate the GCSA Director providing an answer via the post above, she didn't owe you one speck of toilet paper filler.
Jim Beam October 10, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Chris, the NO crowd has "NO" interest in improving education - only protecting the funding needed to continue the clearly-failed status quo. It's why they're completely silent on How To Improve Public Education, except to complain for More Funding.
Jen October 10, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Well, then a "government asset" would be a school building wouldn't it? I mean we could get really crazy connecting all the dots so that eventually every school district in the state would be sued (including the state charter schools). Have you seen the move "Making the Grade?" The one that was shown to all the legislators in January at an event sponsored by the GCSA (to lobby for the charter referendum legislation)? Weren't "state assets" used to make that film?
Jim Beam October 12, 2012 at 04:34 PM
What events did Deal campaign at for 1162? I'm only aware that he's taken down any pro-Yes comments. Meanwhile, various PTAs continue to flaunt the law. Contrary to your belief, PTA presidents aren't allowed to hold meetings on public facilities and express their opinions at such meetings. Though the recent ruling does indeed show that the legal system is predictably in the pockets of the failed, liberal public education system too, apparently. If it's true that Deal campaigned for 1162, then I'm glad. Clearly, the NO crowd sees no problems whatsoever with breaking the law to advance their Agenda of Failure and Mediocrity. When in Rome, do as the Romans.
Jessie October 13, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Dan, The Governor traveled to Cherokee County to sign HB 797 into law. How did he get there? I am guessing he used taxpayer money, sat in a chair paid for by taxpayer funds and used a pen paid for by tax dollar all during the confines of a school day. Student were take out of class to attend this event. There were numerous photos taken with many smiling dignitaries (did they use taxpater $ to get there) and a oh, yea, a few token students. As far as PTAs, they are permitted to voice an opinion on an ISSUE as long as it is not their main purpose. Just as churches can operate at a school during the confines of their service, PTAs, during the confines of a meeting, may express their position on issues.

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