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Mon October 8, 2012
Taxpayers Sue School Districts for Alleged Use of Taxpayer Funds to Campaign Against Amendment
A group of Georgia taxpayers filed suit today against the Fulton County School System and the Gwinnett County School District individually and as representatives of all the school districts in the state.
In the lawsuit, the taxpayers accuse the school districts of using taxpayer time and resources to campaign against a proposed amendment for charter schools.
Atlanta Attorney Glenn Delk says the Fulton and Gwinnett School systems are named in the lawsuit, because they have evidence that the districts were engaging in activities that violate state law.
“In Fulton’s case they prepared a Frequently Asked Questions, which we think is a thinly veiled anti-propaganda material. We think In Gwinnett’s case, as we have alleged, they have adopted a resolution that many other school districts opposing the effort.”
Delk says his clients’ position was reinforced by an opinion issued last week by Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens. The opinion stated that school boards could not use taxpayer funds to campaign for or against constitutional amendments. Delk says his clients are actually seeking to stop all the school districts in the state from violating the law.
“The taxpayers believe that the voters should not have their voting rights impacted by the local districts spending their taxpayers to lobby them against the amendment.”
The Fulton County School System declined to comment on the lawsuit because of pending litigation. The Gwinnett County School district also declined to comment because the school system has not received the lawsuit.
Delk says the lawsuit was not filed against State School Superintendent John Barge or the State Board of Education because a statement Barge issued against the amendment was removed from the State Board of Education’s website. He also says the board issued a statement on its website saying it was taking no stance on the amendment. A hearing on the matter is scheduled on Wednesday in Fulton County Superior Court.