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Vote no on Nov. 6
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It has been my honor to serve our students, parents and community on the Dawson County Board of Education for 23 years.

During that time, I have taken my responsibility to act in the best interests of children very seriously. During the 23 years, I have never felt it necessary to write a letter to the newspaper on a single issue, as I now feel compelled to do regarding a constitutional amendment.

The constitutional amendment that is before the voters causes me many concerns, but the most glaring is that communities will suffer a significant loss of local control to make decisions regarding children. Make no mistake, regardless of the wording on the ballot, the passage of it will take the authority of passing charters from local boards and place it squarely in the hands of an appointed commission. Appointed commission members will not be accountable to taxpayers and will operate independently.

Therefore, they will have the authority to approve charter schools and expend tax dollars without having to answer to the voters of our county or any other in the state.

I have always appreciated the support and trust of the Dawson County voters, with the understanding that I am an elected official.

I have been through many elections knowing that the voters of our county can put another candidate in office if there is a general belief that I am not adequately representing their interests.

However, if passed, this amendment will result in taxation without representation.

Decisions made by an appointed commission in Atlanta will determine which schools are viable in Dawson County.

The state school superintendent of Georgia, Dr. John Barge, has indicted that the commission will have the authority to fund these schools at over twice the state tax dollars allocated to our present public schools.

In this difficult economic time, it is estimated that 1 million tax dollars will be needed to establish and run the commission and more than $430 million will be spent to fund the new schools over a five year period.

It is my hope that you will continue to trust those of us who have the privilege of serving the children of Dawson County as board of education members. I have always tried to make the best decisions possible for the children of our county, and it is my hope that you will allow me to continue to do so by a vote of "no" on Constitutional Amendment 1.

Cecil Bennett
Dawson County school board member