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.