State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, filed a bill Wednesday that if passed would re-form a Georgia High School Association oversight committee within the General Assembly.
Peake said last week he jump-started the idea of re-forming the committee -- which was chaired by state Rep. Chuck Martin, R-Alpharetta, -- after the GHSA executive committee voted to split Class A public and private schools during state playoff tournaments.
Peake called the decision a slippery slope, and said he was concerned about the GHSA’s direction. He said splitting up schools during the playoffs “doesn’t make sense” and many private schools compete in the GHSA to face both public and private schools. Peake’s children attended First Presbyterian Day School, a private school in Macon that joined the GHSA in 2010.
He said there are legislators who are interested in looking into how the GHSA executive committee operates and makes decisions and said they wanted to see if the league made decisions and took votes with transparency. He said while the GHSA remains a private institution, the league makes decisions that affect every public school in Georgia.
“There are at least a dozen of legislators who feel like we should exert some influence and oversight with the GHSA,” Peake said.
Peake isn’t sure how fast this committee can be mobilized. The bill, House Bill 809, must pass through the Senate and the House of Representatives first and then be signed by Gov. Nathan Deal.
“We’ll have to see how much angst there is amongst the legislators,” Peake said.
GHSA executive director Ralph Swearngin said he anticipated some kind of action from the General Assembly following the controversial vote to split public and private schools. He said both public schools and private schools have supporters in the legislature, and that action likely would have come regardless of the executive committee's vote.
Swearngin said he had mixed feelings about the bill. He said the GHSA had no negatives from the last interaction with the oversight committee.
"But I have concern that a private organization is getting this level of scrutiny," he said. "We aren't trying to hide anything."
Telegraph writer Maggie Lee contributed to this report.