President and CEO of Georgia Chamber of Commerce Chris Clark during a luncheon for the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber on Oct. 27.
President and CEO of Georgia Chamber of Commerce Chris Clark during a luncheon for the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber on Oct. 27.

Georgia Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Chris Clark said the independent school system bill isn’t necessary, during a Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber luncheon Oct. 27.

Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber member Larry Feldman asked Clark about the proposed bill, known as HR4. “Dunwoody’s very interested in creating its own school system with the belief that DeKalb is not managing that properly,” Feldman said.

He then asked Clark if the Georgia Chamber had an opinion or supported efforts to get HR4 passed in the 2016 legislative session.

“We’ve been very supportive of charter schools,” Clark said. “You’ve got options to explore all the way before going to a district bill.”

Clark said when asked two years ago about expediting the ability to create city-based school districts, the position was that “a model exists within the charter school district bill.”

“You ought to try to use that before having any other legislation out there,” Clark said. “In some areas where you’ve got high populations, it might be the best thing, but in other parts of the state, quite frankly, you can barely stand to keep one school system open much less create two or three.”

Dunwoody City Councilman Terry Nall said he hoped to encourage Clark to understand the importance of local control over education.

Nall reminded Clark that in his presentation Clark showed how demographically people are moving into the area, which is why education is as crucial as local control over education.

“The urban school districts are so large that they cannot provide that local control, that local customization that you need,” Nall said. “This isn’t a DeKalb issue; this isn’t a Dunwoody issue, it’s an urban issue and the charter district bill is flawed.”

Nall said the charter district bill “looks good on paper,” but isn’t a solution because it doesn’t provide for local control of the teachers, the money and the facilities.

“I hope that our chamber here in Dunwoody work with your chamber to make this a statewide issue,” Nall said.

2 replies on “Georgia Chamber of Commerce CEO prefers charter schools to independent school systems”

  1. DeKalb Superintendent discusses charter schools, annexation and more
    Posted by Dan Whisenhunt  October 22, 2015

    He said the school system needs to be involved in charter schools to provide guidance in areas like contract procurement and human resources management.

    “I am actually for charter schools, but I’m for a more sustainable model and the sustainable model for me is a collaborative model,” he said.

    Green said total autonomy for charter schools is something DeKalb County Schools can’t give. He said the school system’s lawyers have advised him that “there are limits to what we can hand off, because the liability of what happens in that school comes back to the superintendent of the county school district and to the board.”

    “So if there’s child endangerment going on, if there’s fiscal mismanagement going on. So to a certain extent, the substantial autonomy has to be tempered with recognition of those kinds of things that need to be and fall back on the responsibility of the host district,” Green said.

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