Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us.
I'm Frank Malloy.
And I'm Leah Johnson.
This is Eyewitness News at Six.
We're less than seven weeks from Election Day... That's when Central Georgians will help elect a president...decide county and congressional races...and settle some ballot questions.
One of them involves a proposed Georgia constitutional amendment...that would change how charter schools are created.
We'll bring you both sides of that issue...but first..... Candace Adorka explains the background on the charter-school issue.
When a group of parents and community members decide they want to start a charter school, they must submit a detailed petition to the local school board, explaining how they plan to run it.
If local school board members and the state department of education approve, the petition becomes the contract... or charter the school has to live by.
Just like traditional public schools, they're funded with tax payer dollars based on the number of students, they have to live up to state and federal academic standards, and they have to be open to all students.
Unlike traditional public schools, charter schools have more freedom. They're run by a non-profit board of directors.
For example, they make their own staffing decisions, they can have longer school days, a different curriculum, or a specific focus-- like performing arts.
If a local school board rejects a charter petition, the group can go straight to the state department of education and get approval-- but that's rare.
For four years... there was another way. Petitioners could appeal to the Georgia Charter Schools Commission...its seven members appointed by state officials.
Last year the Georgia Supreme Court ruled the law that created the commission unconstitutional. But this year, state legislators passed a new bill to recreate that. Legislators said that would let charter-school backers bypass the local schools board... Which often say no.
But it only takes effect if voters approve a constitutional amendment in November.
On your ballot, the question will read, "shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?"
Now remember...charter schools now can be created at the local level....or by the state department of education...but if voters approve... That new commission could override both of them. Candace Adorka 13wmaz eyewitness news.
Not everyone is up to speed on that charter school question...but some people who are.... have strong opinions.
Bibb County School Board member Gary Bechtel says you should vote yes.
But state representative James Beverly says... there are reasons *not* to support it.
Randall Savage is in the studio to weigh out both sides.
The investigation involving a list threatening students and staff in a Monroe County School is being turned over to the sheriff's office. Judy Le tells us more on this still developing story.
<allison Selman-Willis, spokeswoman for the sheriff's department says Monroe County officials filed a juvenile complaint against a 9th grade bow who allegedly wrote a list threatening 9th grade academy students and staff. She says it's now up to the state department of juvenile justice whether or not to take him into custody. They have not released the boy's name. School officials found out about the list Monday, parents found out Tuesday. A parent of one of the kids on the list told us a deputy interviewed her Tuesday night. When she saw the list, it was headed "death list.">
In the past hour....a state spokesman sent us this statement on the case...The statement reads
"The Department of Juvenile Justice has not been presented with a juvenile complaint or with a call from law enforcement asking for a detention order or a 'decision to hold'. Until one of these occur, DJJ is not involved."
School officials and the sheriff's department told us they are not commenting any further.
Thanks, John. We'll talk to you again a little later in this newscast.
Focusing on health news tonight...no time for a flu vaccine?
Starting today..the Macon Bibb County Health Department is helping to knock out excuses... and help you protect yourself from flu this fall.
A drive-through clinic is set up in the parking lot of the health department at 171 Emery Highway in Macon.
Today was the first day. You can get your flu shot from 8-30 am until 4 p-m through Friday.
The clinic is open to everyone.
And you don't even have to get out of your car.
Also tonight... We have a recall alert for you.
If you've recently bought spinach at your local Kroger store... There's a chance it may be contaminated with Listeria.
Kroger is recalling spinach sold at its stores in Georgia and 14 other states..
The recall affects 10 ounce packages of "Fresh Selections Tender Spinach" and has a best if used by date of September 16th.
You can return the spinach to the store for a full refund or replacement.
Listeria can lead to severe illness for pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems.
We've just learned...campus police had to use pepper spray...to break up a fight outside Howard High School.
A school news release says it happened around 3...as students waited for the bus.
Police say six students were involved.
When they ordered a 14-year-old to get on the bus ...they say...he refused.
Then he and a 15-year-old assaulted an officer.
Both teens were arrested on misdemeanors...and the older boy is charged with a felony...disruption of an officer.
So far..there is no word on injuries.
<SOT: there is a pressure, not really a bad pressure, but a pressure you feel like there is something back behind you or around you, it's an awesome feeling. >
Loretta Cato is talking about the feeling from a presence like this...we slowed video down so you can see what paranormal investigators call signs of supernatural activity.
They sent this to the Washington County Historical Society...calling it evidence of a ghost at the old county jail. But you can decide for yourself.
We'll show you more tonight at 11.
So on 13WMAZ-dot-com tonight we asked... Do you believe in ghosts?
Forty-three percent say yes...but 57 percent aren't buying it.
To vote now... Visit 13WMAZ.com.
Look for the question on the right side of the homepage.