Albany - The newest state flag goes up at the Capitol. Dougherty County School System Supply Director, Jim Casey, says, "We're hoping to have them in schools by the time school comes back next school year."
It's de-ja-vu, two years ago, schools, government and state agencies switched from the confederate emblem flag to the blue flag, now they will change again. The new flag that went up over the Capitol soon after the signing was inspired by a national Confederate flag but without the divisive cross of stars.
Governor Sonny Perdue's signature does not end the controversy. The bill will allow Georgia voters to pick between the new three-stripe flag and the old flag in a referendum next March. Casey says, "The money that the legislatures provide won't be there until July one and then they have to be ordered."
Most flag manufacturing companies haven't even made the newest flag with the red and blue stripe. Dougherty County School System ordered 33 of the newest state flag, but they still have several old ones in storage, including the confederate emblem flag. Casey explains, "We still have them and kept them and didn't know what they were going to do with the change."
Lawmakers gave the Secretary of State's office $325,000 to design and buy new flags for state offices and buildings throughout Georgia. The school system gets free flags, but non-state agencies have to pay. Two years ago, the City of Albany paid $31.00 per smaller flag and $96.00 for each big nylon flag. The city has more than $1,200 worth of old flags sitting in storage.
The flag issue is not over yet, the newest flag will fly high until the referendum next year, which means government agencies and schools may have to switch out again, depending on the vote. Casey says, "And we might have to do it again, this is temporary, in my understanding." Next March, voters will choose between this flag that was adopted two years ago and the new one.
Governor Perdue said he would liked to have given Georgians more options on which flag to choose.
The bill states agencies must display the current flag as soon as it becomes available, but you should not take down the current flag until you can get the new one. Also keep the old one in storage, just in case.