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Newton, Rockdale school boards to host town hall
Local school boards will discuss Opportunity School District amendment
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The Newton County Board of Education, in conjunction with the Rockdale County Board of Education, will host a town hall meeting at Discover Point Church Thursday for information on the proposed Opportunity School District amendment that will be on the election ballot in November.

The town hall meeting will be at 7 p.m. at 1605 Highway 138 SE in Conyers. Refreshments will be served from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., followed by guest speaker Margaret Ciccareli. Cicarelli, director of legislative affairs for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, will present information to on the details of how the passage of the constitutional amendment would affect local school systems and the education of students in those communities.

The Opportunity School District amendment was proposed by Gov. Nathan Deal based on similar models in Louisiana and Tennessee. The proposed amendment would authorize the state to take over failing public schools from local systems.

According to the Office of the Governor, failing schools are “those scoring below 60 on the Georgia Department of Education’s accountability measure, the College and Career Performance Index, for three consecutive years.

“Members of both the Newton County Board of Education and the Rockdale County Board of Education will be in attendance at this Town Hall meeting, as we believe it is extremely important that voters understand the ramifications of this proposed amendment and how it could affect local communities and children across the entire state,” said Almond Turner, Newton County Board of Education Chair. “We just want to make sure everyone is informed prior to voting on Nov. 8, because the language to be used on the election ballot does not provide voters with the important background information on how the Opportunity School District will operate and function, nor does it explain the impact it will have if passed. That is why both the Newton and Rockdale school boards are encouraging parents and residents to attend this Town Hall Meeting. It’s that important.”

Audience members can submit questions via question cards for Ciccarelli to answer after her presentation. Local elected officials will also speak on the proposed amendment and take questions from the audience.

“The program begins at 7 p.m. and ends at 8:3- p.m.,” Turner said. “We encourage parents and residents in our community to make the time to attend this meeting. The 90 minutes they invest in attending this meeting may be the most important 90 minutes for not only the Newton County School System, but for school systems and ultimately children across the state of Georgia.”