News 12 at 11 o'clock / Tuesday, May 1, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- What would you do with $10 million? Local school leaders says public schools will be stripped of that much money, thanks to a new charter school amendment.
Lawmakers took a tongue lashing that led to an actual apology at a meeting hosted by the Georgia Association of Educators.
"I think we have some serious issues," said school board member Venus Cain. "I think has been going on for too long."
Members of the local legislative delegation got an earful at the meeting.
"The delegation used to meet with everybody once a year and listen to everybody," Cain said. "We don't do that anymore."
Sen. Hardie Davis got most of the incoming fire over his vote supporting a new charter school amendment.
"If you can't properly fund public education," Cain said, "how are you going to fund charter schools? I want you all to understand the pain I feel when I have teachers standing there saying, 'How many days are we going to be furloughed?' and I can't tell them."
Cain was one of dozens who relentlessly questioned the amendment.
"All I've done is given you the opportunity to determine the outcome of it by going to the polls," Davis said. "If you believe this is a bad measure, go and vote no."
Our cameras were rolling as the senator seemed to issue an apology.
"To those individuals who said, 'Hardie, we wish you hadn't done it,'" Davis said, "I'm saying, OK then. I'm sorry to those of you who wished I hadn't done it, but to those folks who said, 'I wanted an option,' then we've given them an opportunity to go to the polls and support it."
Voters will have the final say on the charter school amendment at the polls in November.
"He voted his conviction. He is turning it over to us to vote our conviction," Cain said. "My conviction is to vote no in November."