ATLANTA -- A defensive governor Nathan Deal says money shouldn't be an issue in the debate over his school takeover amendment. Deal responded to criticism of the amendment levied by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed -- who has joined with Deal across party lines on many issues, but not this one.

In a statement Reed said he thinks the school takeover measure "will weaken our public schools, and create conditions where they become the last resort for desperate families."

Amendment One would allow the state to take over operations of public schools that are "failing," which score 60 or below on the state's College and Career Performance Index for three years in a row. 127 schools across Georgia would currently qualify.

"I have a great respect for Mayor Reed," Deal said Wednesday. But he disputed Reed's contention it would weaken public schools.

"The (Opportunity School District) doesn't take any additional money, it simply uses the same money that is already going to those schools. And allows someone else to have control and jurisdiction to try and change the dynamic," Deal said.