In summary, my opinion, do not look to the State of Georgia and/or the Georgia Department of Education to hold local school systems accountable with regards to the Capital Outlay program. Local control of our school systems is needed. That is why I support Tom Taylor's Independent School District legislation.
In accordance with Georgia law (20-2-260), in order for a local school district to be eligible to participate in Georgia's Capital Outlay Program, the District is required to develop and maintain a five-year local facilities plan. Every five years, school districts apply for eligibility for this funding by completing two major requirements: first, report the number of schools the District expects to operate in that five-year period and second, a capital project scheduling plan for same five-year period, (which properly aligns with our voter-approved E-SPLOST program.)
I am familiar with a bit of this code, but was curious as to the entirety of Georgia Code 20-2-260. As I read it, I was struck as to how vague and "open it is to interpretation" in certain areas. I questioned, other than loss of funds, what are the consequences for local systems not completely abiding by the "code"? Also, the title of the code contains the word "Generally".
Also, here is the very first statement that appears in the code, which we know from past experience with DCSD (I believe Dr. Green is sincere in his efforts to correct this), and numerous other school systems, has not adhered to:
(a) It is declared to be the policy of the State of Georgia to assure that every public school student shall be housed in a facility which is structurally sound and well maintained and which has adequate space and equipment to meet each student's instructional needs as those needs are defined and required by this article.
So, it is "declared" - what are the consequences if a local system does not "adhere" to this declaration?
A few highlights of the code:
(1) To adopt policies, guidelines, and standards for the annual physical facility and real property inventory required of each local school system.
(2) To adopt policies, guidelines, and standards for the educational facilities survey required of local school systems.
(3) To adopt policies, guidelines, and standards for educational facilities construction plans.
(5) To develop a state-wide needs assessment for purposes of planning and developing policies, anticipating state-wide needs for educational facilities, and providing assistance to local school systems in developing educational facilities plans.
(7) To review and approve proposed sites and all architectural and engineering drawings and specifications on construction projects for educational facilities to ensure compliance with state standards and requirements, and inspect and approve completed construction projects financed in whole or in part with state funds
(8) To coordinate construction project reviews with the state fire marshal's office and the Department of Public Health.
(d) In order to qualify for and receive state capital outlay funds in accordance with provisions of subsections (g) and (h) of this Code section, each local school system must meet the following conditions and requirements:
(2) Complete a local educational facilities plan in accordance with provisions of subsection (c) of this Code section. Each proposed construction project shall be identified according to the purposes for capital outlay funds as provided in subsection (e) of this Code section. Each local school system shall specify the order of importance of all proposed construction projects, giving priority to elementary school construction projects.
6) Submit descriptions of proposed educational facility sites and all architectural and engineering drawings and specifications for educational facilities to the Department of Education for review and approval in accordance with provisions of subsection (c) of this Code section;
(i) Local school systems may receive capital outlay funds for construction projects to consolidate or reorganize schools under an advance funding category; provided, however, that each construction project meets the following conditions:
(1) A school size and organizational study has been completed by the Department of Education;
(2) The local school system has adopted a comprehensive plan to reorganize so that each school within the system funded under this subsection shall meet or exceed the minimum sizes specified in subsection (q) of this Code section or contain all the students within the local school system for the respective school level; provided, however, that nothing contained in this subsection shall be construed so as to require an existing school to change its current grade configuration;
(3) The local facilities plan to implement this reorganization or consolidation of schools has been approved by a comprehensive survey team and the State Board of Education;
You can find the entire code at the following link: http://law.onecle.com/georgia/title-20/20-2-260.html