cloudy
Wednesday February 10th, 2016 9:31PM

Barge scales back opposition to charter vote

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA - State School Superintendent John Barge has reached an agreement with Attorney General Sam Olens on the school chief's political activity regarding a statewide referendum on charter schools, a Barge spokesman said Friday.

But the Atlanta attorney whose complaint prompted the latest action says it's not good enough.

Barge spokesman Matt Cardoza confirmed that the Department of Education has removed from its website a written primer on the constitutional amendment that would allow the state to issue charters for private operators to run taxpayer-financed schools. Barge's Q&A does not explicitly tell Georgians how to vote, but makes his position clear.

Cardoza said Barge decided to take down the document after consulting with Olens' office about a written complaint from an Atlanta attorney. Glenn Delk, who has not disclosed his clients, accused Barge and several local school system authorities of violating state law that generally limits the use of public resources for political activity.

After the legal consultation, Cardoza said, "we voluntarily took down the document." Cardoza emphasized, though, that Barge remains opposed to the amendment, and he said the superintendent will still speak candidly about his opposition.

In his complaint, Delk cited state law and a series of Georgia Supreme Court decisions that he says block Barge and others from a variety of activities leading up to the Nov. 6 referendum. Delk said that includes speaking in his official capacity.

"John Barge is free to give a speech as an individual," Delk said.

The argument could become one of semantics. Cardoza said Barge "speaks to ... groups quite often but is not going to them to specifically or exclusively speak about the charter amendment." But, he added, "When he is asked questions about the amendment he will address them."

Delk also noted that Barge distributed his written primer to local school authorities around the state. That means it is still being used in a political fashion barred by the law, he argued.

Delk said he told an assistant state attorney general that he would wait until next week before deciding how to proceed, in part because he is waiting separately to hear from attorneys for local system officials.

A spokeswoman for the attorney general's office declined comment.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Couch names administrative team
Ahead of his scheduled swearing in Friday, Hall County Sheriff-elect Gerald Couch named his top administrative team Monday.
6:28PM ( 3 years ago )
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 3 years ago )
Hall Co. officials launch health-based initiative for employees
Hall County officials believe healthy county employees will be of greater service to the county. With that in mind, they have created a health-based fitness initiative to provide free fitness training for county workers.
5:46PM ( 3 years ago )
Local/State News
An early rally on the stock market was mostly gone by the closing bell, leaving indexes with a mixed finish after being up most of the day
The Federal Reserve's latest signals on interest rates gave U.S. stocks a lift for much of Wednesday, but the rally didn't last.A sell-off in the final minutes of trading knocked the Dow Jones industr...
4:59PM ( 4 hours ago )
Fiorina ends 2016 Republican bid for president
Former technology executive Carly Fiorina exited the 2016 Republican presidential race Wednesday, after winning praise for her debate prowess but struggling to build a winning coalition in a crowded GOP field.
3:32PM ( 5 hours ago )
Hall County 911 Center gets SPLOST-funded upgrades
Hall County's new 911 Center is now outfitted with 15 new work station and new flooring, all funded by SPLOST VII monies.
By AccessWDUN Staff
11:55AM ( 9 hours ago )
Atlanta airport adds private pods for breast-feeding mothers
Authorities at the world's busiest airport say four lactation pods are now available for nursing mothers as they travel.
By Associated Press
11:52AM ( 9 hours ago )
Man faces 30 counts of animal cruelty in Forsyth County
A Forsyth County man faces multiple animal cruelty charges after authorities removed several dogs from a residence in the western part of the county earlier this month.
10:50AM ( 10 hours ago )