Edwards and the Carrollton Board of Education sat down with the local delegation to the Georgia General Assembly at the Carroll County Courthouse, expressing their concerns about the amendment that passed last month.
Edwards and the board had opposed the amendment, which had the support of many Republican lawmakers.
"When you look at some of the things that are being considered, and it seems like it's detrimental to the focus of our school system, it seems like the disconnect begins," Edwards said.
The superintendent said the lines of communication between himself and the state lawmakers was not always as healthy as it should have been, which Rep. Kevin Cooke, R-Carrollton, and Rep. Dustin Hightower, R-Carrollton, disagreed with.
"I want to make sure this is clear — just because sometimes we may disagree, the line of communication will never be cut," Hightower said. "I assure you that I've never ignored a call or not called you back on purpose."
Edwards said it was a "little tough" to talk to the legislators during the charter school campaign period, saying "nobody reached out" to him.
"Phone calls, emails, nothing," he said. "I'd like to repair whatever has happened, and that's what we're here to do today."
Randy Nix, R-LaGrange, told the board members that the charter school amendment was "something that had a lot more effect for other parts of the state."
"The board supports the flexibility the amendment gives," Edwards said. "If it comes to be a detriment to the funding, and you say that it won't, we respectfully disagree. But the public voted for it, and we're on board, and we're going to lead and not recede."
School board Chairman Dr. James C. Pope said he worries the amendment will lead to a "two-tiered system" similar to the segregated schools before the 1960s.
"We're worried about going back to, for lack of a better term, a two-tiered system like we had in the '40s and '50s, only now it's students who are in charter schools and students who are not that have unequal opportunities," Pope said. "You can say what you want to, but that's what's going to happen with this amendment."
Hightower shared some legislation planned to be voted on in 2013 that will provide more flexibility to high-achieving school systems by 2015, which Pope said the board had already heard about.
The new legislation will require systems to choose whether they want to be a charter system, an IE Squared system ("Investing in Educational Excellence," a mode Nix admitted probably wouldn't get much interest from systems) or remain the same.
To decide whether a system can become a charter system if it chooses to, Nix said there will be a letter-grade scale used to evaluate schools' performance.
"Systems will be graded on the ABC scale, like a report card, and if you are an A or B system, you can be a charter system and you'll be on your own, essentially," Nix said. "But if you're below those standards, you still have flexibility, but there's some requirements to get you to the A or B level."
Nix said he believed systems that are doing well should be able to have the flexibility afforded to charter systems. He said "that's where we're going" with this new legislation, hoped to be fully incorporated by 2015.
Hightower said some of the freedoms systems might be allowed include decisions on classroom sizes, spending in the classroom and transportation.
"We've heard the cry, and we're going to try and give you the flexibility you're looking for," he said.
The question posed to voters on Nov. 6 was maligned by many for being an unfair question. The question read, "Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?"
Hightower told the board that the question as originally drafted was "completely biased."
"I had my wife look at it, and she's a statistics teacher, and she told me she would fail a high school student if he turned in that question," Hightower said. "So I took that concern to Jan Jones, who carried the amendment, and they went back and changed the wording."
Hightower said he wasn't saying it was a "perfect question," but that he took the board's concerns and changed something because of them.
"Even if you weren't in favor of the amendment to begin with, the question was better than it used to be," he said.
Ward Three board member Dr. Jason Mount said it makes him nervous that the public has voted to increase the costs of educating students when all agencies statewide are facing deep budget cuts.
"It just seems that we've allowed legally, through a vote on a poorly worded question, to educate a portion of students at a higher level of payment when you have a $300 million hole and the cost of creating a new bureaucracy," he said. "It just doesn't seem like the smart thing to do."
The legislators also shared some insight into how the budget is made at a state level.
"When we make the budget, everything else is cut before education is even discussed," Hightower said. "Education is set aside, as it should be, and everything else is cut first."
Edwards asked Nix if the system should plan on a "reduction, about the same or an increase" in austerity cuts in the coming year, which Nix said was difficult to say.
"They're looking at the QBE (quality basic education) formula now," Nix said. "But everybody's had to suffer. With education being 60 percent of the budget, it has to be touched if you're going to make any meaningful changes."
Near the end of the meeting, Hightower assured the board members that although the discussion may get tense, it is still a healthy part of the public discourse.
"These conversations can sometimes get a little heated, but I can tell you that this is what we are here for — to debate," Hightower said. "We may find ourselves at different positions, but that never means we're not here to listen."