The Inside Story: Sen. Hardie Davis takes heat for supporting resolution feared to 'destroy' public schools

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, March 21, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Sen. Hardie Davis is in the hot seat after voting in favor of a resolution some say will destroy public schools.

The Columbia County School system and the Richmond County PTA have both come out against the resolution. The PTA president took to the radio in our weekly segment. Davis responded.

The association wrote letters to Davis asking him not to support the charter school bill. He did.

"To be able to take money out of the budget and start a whole different chapter of education is ridiculous," said PTA President Monique Braswell. "Ridiculous!"

PTA members say funds are already limited.

"We have longer furlough days now. We have bigger classroom sizes," Braswell said. "There is not enough money in the budget for what we already have."

Columbia County School Superintendent Charles Nagle calls the move the first step in "destroying public schools."

"We 100 percent agree with Mr. Nagle," Braswell said. "This would tear up the public school system. It will tear it up."

Braswell said the resolution strips the power away from local districts and gives it to state leaders to approve charter schools.

"I should not have to call the state or people that I don't know anything about for them to understand my concerns," Braswell said. "If they even answer the phones."

We called Davis. He said voters will get the final say in November.

"It will be on the ballot in November," Davis said. "I would expect those individuals to weigh in heavily on this matter, and if this matter is as important as is being suggested, I would expect this measure to be defeated at the ballot box in November."

Sen. Davis sent out this email:
The charter schools legislation has raised many questions in our community and it has caused some individuals to do things in a very misguided and hurtful way. Currently 95 percent of the calls that I have received from people in Augusta are from callers who have not read the legislation and who have been provided information that is factually incorrect. It is imperative that the actual legislation be reviewed and considered.

I have provided a link to the current legislation for your review and consideration. Please forward the legislation to your email lists and groups. If you or your organizations have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at (404) 656-0340.

It is anticipated that the charter schools legislation will be brought before us on today. Currently this matter is slated for passage as there are four Democratic votes expected to support this measure. I am considered one of those four votes. Based on what is currently taking place at the Capitol, I expect the charter schools bill has sufficient votes to PASS without my support."


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