I attended the DCPC meeting Wednesday. There was some very informative information provided by the speakers. I believe the conversation could have gone on much longer as there are many more questions than answers at this point. FWIW, the following are some notes I wrote down. I apologize in advance as I am a terrible note-taker, so do not take what I have written as exactly what was said.
All school districts MUST choose a Flexibility Option by 6/30/15. This is an extension from the first deadline and apparently there are some School Superintendents who would like to see this deadline extended as well. However, many legislators are adamant that the 6/30/15 deadline not be extended. The GABOE has a good presentation on the options. Click here to view that presentation.
IE2 is the option that Gwinnett County Schools chose several years ago. There is waiver flexibility with this option in exchange for higher academic goals. There is a loss of governance if a school does not meet its targets, but there seems to be no “enforceability” of this.
Charter System is school district based with an emphasis on school based leadership with increasing school level autonomy. However, there is still the central governance that exists today in many school districts. There is some funding available. I believe a cap of $100 per student was mentioned. This is one time funding.
Status Quo option comes about when a local district rejects all School Flexibility options. I doubt DCSD would choose this option as they would lose all flexibility from waivers, SBOE rules or GADOE guidelines.
System of Charters comes about when all of the schools within a district are grouped into charter cluster. An example is the Druid Hills Charter Cluster that is seeking approval from the BOE.
System of Charter Schools comes about when all schools within a school district obtain Charter System.
Strategic School District was mentioned, but not discussed. This is where a local district has a performance contract with the State Board of Education. Needless to say I would doubt this option would be viable for DCSD at this time.
Trenton Arnold – DCSD Regional 3 Superintendent, spoke about DCSD’s plans with regards to school flexibility. He indicated that the district is putting together a Flexibility Advisory Committee (FAC) to review all of the options and make a recommendation to the Superintendent who will in then make his recommendation to the Board of Education.
Click here to view DCSD School Flexibility Presentation.
Tom Taylor – spoke about HB486 – legislation to allow independent school districts. Will be a battle. For many school districts outside of the Metro Atlanta area, the local school districts are largest employers. They will be loathe to vote for anything that may affect that. He will keep us updated on upcoming legislative hearings. This was a shocker if I heard right – the Board of Education elections will be held on May 20, 2014.
Andrew Lewis – Executive Vice President of GCSA gave a high level overview of Druid Hills Charter Cluster petition. I believe the DCSD BOE is scheduled to vote on the petition Monday, 11/1