Decatur School Board withholds judgment on state’s school takeover plan
By Duo-Wei Yang, contributor
Decatur’s School Board has decided to withhold its opinion about the state’s school takeover plan, for now.
During its Oct. 11 meeting, the School Board discussed going on record about whether it supports the plan, as other school boards have. But ultimately, the board members concluded they needed more information. School Boards around the state have passed resolutions opposing the creation of the Opportunity School District, which is on the ballot Nov. 8. It’s not clear if the School Board, which usually meets on the second Tuesday of each month, will meet again prior to the election.
School Board member Garrett Goebel feels that the OSD plan is not very clear.
“If you look at the Opportunity School District, there’s a lot of grey areas in how schools are returned to local schools and there’s a lot of grey areas in who’s stuck with the time and resources and who gets stuck with the bill,” he said.
Goebel personally believes that the board should stand with other school districts in opposing OSD.
“I think this is one of those areas in Georgia where a lot of the forms and initiatives take public education and divide it into several pieces of pie and then turn public education into competing for the same resource,” he said.
Despite some leanings towards publicly opposing OSD, the board finally decided to consult the school board’s lawyer first, then choose whether or not to give a resolution.
“I’m happy to get a legal opinion,” Goebel said. “I’d rather not get it from the attorney general, because I suspect it will come after the first Tuesday of November.”
The board also plans to produce a fact sheet to inform voters on what being for or against OSD would mean.
“People can draw their own opinions on whether it’s a good thing [or not],” board member Lewis Jones said. “If people [looked] at the ballot measure, they wouldn’t understand what the constitutional amendment would do.”
The fact sheet would be objective, board members said.
“We [will] provide both sets of information on the fact sheet,” board member Bernadette Seals said.
Former Decatur School Board chair Valarie Wilson, who is now executive director of the Georgia School Boards Association, has publicly opposed the ballot measure.