Following the money in the battle over Amendment 1

Following the money for Amendment 1

ATLANTA -- When it comes to Amendment 1, it seems to be shaping up to be a battle between teachers’ unions and private businesses.

So far, more than $3 million has been pumped into the race, and, oddly enough, the amount of money spent almost mirrors the poll results.

EXCLUSIVE POLL | Failing schools amendment could fail

As of the last filing date at the end of September, $1.22 million were raised in support of the school takeover amendment. Telecom company AT&T and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce donated relatively small amounts, $25,000 and $35,000, respectively.

The next largest contributor is the 50Can Action Fund. They're a national education advocacy group that supports intervention in low-performing schools. So far, they've donated $310,000.

But by far the group that is spear heading fundraising is Georgia Leads, a nonprofit that doesn't have to disclose its donors. That group has contributed $850,000 to supporting Amendment 1.

Spokesperson with Georgia Leads, Alyssa Botts, told 11Alive’s Ryan Kruger "Our focus will remain on the 68,000 children trapped in chronically failing schools,” Botts said. “We will continue to inform voters about Amendment 1 with the truth and the facts – not the false, egregious claims we hear being made from the opposition on the backs of these children left with no better option."

Supporters say Amendment 1 will allow them to fix failing schools.

"Right now, what we have is institutional complacency," said David Morgan, a Cobb County School Board member and supporter of the amendment. "We have local school boards that have taken these kids for granted, for decades."

Meanwhile, opponents of the amendment have raised almost twice as much – nearly $2 million – but it's all coming from the national teacher's union. They argue a lot of that money is still coming from Georgia teachers since they pay dues.

Last week, Mayor Kasim Reed broke with Governor Deal and said he decided to oppose the amendment.

"There is a genuine concern about the quality of education and on it weakening our public schools because it may take resources that were meant for public schools out of the system," Reed said.

Both sides have been running a lot of ads and according to 11Alive's exclusive poll, and so far, it looks like it's the opponents who have had the most impactful message.

(© 2017 WXIA)


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