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Saturday February 6th, 2016 8:04PM

Ga. charter schools association faulted for email

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) -- The Georgia Charter Schools Association has come under criticism for sending an email to school leaders asking for their help as the organization tried to arrange what appears to be a political ad.

The association's communications director, Nina Rubin, sent the email Thursday asking charter school officials to identify educators, school leaders and teachers willing to publicly support a proposed constitutional amendment that give state authorities power to create more charter schools. Voters will decide next month whether to approve the amendment.

"We are working under a very tight deadline to put together an ad that will run in local media with the names of Educators, School Leaders & Teachers who support public charter schools," Rubin wrote in the email, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "If you support Amendment One, and would like your name included, please send me the following information today or by noon tomorrow."

Charter schools receive public funding and cannot use taxpayer resources for political campaigns. Supporters of the amendment have accused state Education Superintendent John Barge of using office resources to lobby against the amendment after he publicly came out against it.

"One can only hope they are doing this at night on their own time," said Jane Langley, campaign director of votesmartgeorgia.com, which opposes the constitutional change.

Rubin told the newspaper that her email was "poorly worded" and not intended for use in an ad.

"We were not asking teachers to participate in a political campaign," she said. "We were trying to judge what kind of support charter school teachers have for the issue in various parts of the state."
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