Augusta, Ga. (WJBF)-
The Young Democrats of Augusta and other elected officials held a press conference to kick-off a campaign to urge the community locally and statewide to vote no on Opportunity School District. The OSD plan will be on the November 8th ballot and local leaders want to make sure they educate voters so they can make an informed decision before heading to the polls. The plan proposed by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal would create a state-controlled, statewide school district ran by a Superintendent that works directly with the Governor to aid failing schools.
Jordan Johnson, President of the Young Democrats of Augusta says he doesn’t believe students are the ones that are failing.
“The resources and the funding that’s being cut for our local school systems from the governors office and the education department I believe that’s where the failure is coming from. ” Johnson says.
Nearly 20 schools in Richmond County have been categorized as failing based on three consecutive years worth of college and career ready performance index scores. Johnsons says there isn’t a clear indication as to what his plans are for aiding public schools moving forward.
“We want the Governor to be straight up and direct with the citizens as to what his plans are for our failing schools and not just say that he’s going to give us all an opportunity to succeed, that’s political rhetoric.”
Georgia State Representative Gloria Frazier who voted against the plan says she feels that the Board of Education knows more about the condition of the children than the state.
“We have socioeconomic problems we have children that are homeless, we have children that are hungry, and until we address those socioeconomic parts of our children we will never be able to get them on a scale where they’re able to learn.” Frazier added.
School Board President Helen Minchew says this year they were responsible for creating school improvement plans for very school in the district and under those plans they were able to create waivers and partnerships with companies to fit the needs of students that would address those problems.
“This is a way we can help our high school potential drop outs stay in school, go to work and be paid for their work and continue on towards graduation.” Michew said.
School Board Member Barbara Pulliam says that public education should be just what it says, for the public. The Young Democrats of Augusta will be hosting a series of public town hall meetings to educate voters and to answer any questions they may have regarding the bill and what it entails.