Oct. 26, 2012 — Just this month, Walmart heiress Alice Walton and other out-of-state interests dumped more than $1.1 million into the campaign to allow more state-chartered public schools in Georgia, new campaign finance filings show. Atlanta’s Bernie Marcus also showed his support with a quarter-million-dollar contribution.
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Many Georgia students have enrolled in public school in recent years without ever attending class, solely to take advantage of a 2008 state law creating tax-subsidized scholarships for pupils in private schools. Legislators have described that practice as a legal but unintended consequence of the statute, which was purportedly intended to give children in failing public schools the chance for a private education that they otherwise couldn’t afford. But, in a report released today, critics charge the law creating so-called “student scholarship organizations” (SSOs) was crafted specifically to help pay for students to remain in private school.