Bryan County’s Board of Education has come out against “any legislation” in 2020 that would divert tax dollars into a voucher or similar program for parents to use the money to pay for private schools.
In a resolution passed Tuesday night, the BOE called such programs “an inefficient use of taxpayer money to support two school systems; one public and one private, the latter of which is not accountable to all the taxpayers supporting it.”
An effort to create such a program in 2019 was voted down by the Georgia senate in March. The 155th General Assembly will reconvene Jan. 13.
The school board issued a lengthy statement Thursday regarding its opposition to vouchers.
The Bryan County Board of Education takes very seriously its primary focus to encourage, support, and provide for the academic success of our students. Furthermore, we take very seriously the importance of recognizing and supporting our teachers as professionals and advocating to protect strong public education. We are grateful to all of our employees and the role they play in making Bryan County Schools one of the best.
Inherent in our focus to support and protect all things good for Bryan County students is the importance of remaining alert and aware of possible legislation which could harm or diminish our ability to provide the educational experiences our children deserve. We hope that by taking an early and vocal stand against any potential voucher legislation, our state representatives will take notice of our concerns.
Our voucher resolution, unanimously passed today by the Bryan County Board of Education, is very clear: We are against any legislation that would take public school monies and allow them to be used for private school tuition.
As all of the outside indicators affirm that Georgia’s public schools are on rise, it is difficult to understand why our state representatives would introduce any bills that could possibly hurt the progress being made? Georgia’s public schools are on undoubtedly the move.
For instance, Georgia’s graduation rate is at an all time high - up 12 % points since 2012. Of note is that Georgia has some of the highest requirements in the nation for students to graduate with a regular diploma.
Georgia’s public school class of 2018 has the 16th highest Advanced Placement rate in the nation and scores on the AP exams continue to increase from years’ past. Georgia has the 13th highest participation rate of public high school students taking at least one AP class in the nation.
Georgia’s public school students have recently performed higher than the national average on the SAT and ACT.
Our state representatives frequently tout the statistic that 54% of Georgia’s budget goes to funding public schools. As the local elected officials responsible for approving our school system’s annual budget, we can attest to how costly it is to educate the future, which is why we feel so passionate about protecting every dollar allotted for our students.
It is indeed costly to transport, feed, help develop socially and emotionally, and primarily educate students. As Georgia has been voted first in the nation for doing business six years in a row, we believe a strong public educational system is a factor in businesses choosing to come to Georgia.
We know that in Bryan County, this community supports and values its public education system. We believe that our schools draw the majority of residents here, looking for an opportunity to provide an excellent educational experience for their children.
Bryan County Schools has been proud recently to celebrate our highest CCRPI scores ever. We applaud the great work of our educators who have helped us become one of the highest ranking school systems in the state. We see any attempts to take public school funding and divert them to private schools, with less accountability, as potentially damaging to the Bryan County School System and to the entire public school system of Georgia.
We encourage our residents to pay attention to any potential educational legislation and to advocate for what they believe is best for our Bryan County students. Again, the Bryan County Board of Education is adamantly opposed to any potential voucher legislation that would allow the use of public education funds to pay for private school tuition.
You can view and download the PDF resolution here.