8 | KNOW • Volume 12 Issue 4 CHARTER SYSTEMS CURRENTLY OPERATIONAL Banks County Schools Barrow County Schools Calhoun City Schools Carrollton City Schools Cartersville City School System Charter City Schools of Decatur Coffee County Schools Commerce City Schools Dawson County Schools Dublin City Schools Floyd County Charter System Fulton County Schools Gainesville City Schools Gilmer County Schools Glascock County Schools Gordon County Schools Haralson County Schools Hart County Schools Lumpkin County Schools Madison County Schools Marietta City Schools Morgan County Schools Putnam County Schools Stephens County Schools Union County Schools Vidalia City Schools Warren County Schools White County School System IE2 SYSTEMS CURRENTLY OPERATIONAL Gwinnett County Forsyth County Rabun County SCHOOL SYSTEM FLEXIBILITY COMING TO A SYSTEM NEAR YOU THE GEORGIA STATE LEGISLATURE FOR THE LAST SEVERAL LEGISLATIVE SESSIONS MADE SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO TITLE 20 OF GEORGIA’S CODE, THE LAWS THAT GUIDE PUBLIC SCHOOL EXISTENCE AND OPERATION IN GEORGIA. TWO OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHANGES WERE LEVELED IN TWO BILLS, SB 39 THE CHARTER SYSTEM ACT (PASSED IN 2007), FOLLOWED BY HB 1209 INVESTING IN EDUCATION EXCELLENCE – IE² (PASSED IN 2008). EACH BILL CREATES SCHOOL SYSTEM OPERATION MODELS THAT ALLOW VARIANCE FROM THE TRADITIONAL SCHOOL SYSTEM THAT MUST FUNCTION WITHIN THE TITLE 20 CODE. Since those two bills have passed, few schools systems have adopted either of the two models. Of the 180 school systems throughout the state of Georgia, only 28 currently operate as Charter Systems and three (Gwinnett, Forsyth and Raybun) operate under the IE² model. With only a 17% adoption rate by school systems to either model, the legislature decided to force systems to pick and implement a system model by incentivizing the Charter System or the IE² System through increased flexibility and accountability among local school districts. School System Flexibility, as this requirement is being called, sets out to increase the number of charter schools systems and their funding. The incentives take away teacher protection, deprofessionalize by eliminating certification requirements, redistribute power in a dangerous way and relieve charter schools of almost all of Title 20 guidelines. As of June 30, 2015 each local school system in Georgia must become either an Investing in Educational Excellence School System more commonly known as IE², a Charter System, or choose to remain as a Status Quo System. While GAE worked over the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions to re-name Status Quo, this effort was strongly opposed by the Lt. Governor and the re-brand failed passage from the Senate. As a result, school systems that choose to remain a traditional system are put at a clear disadvantage to the other two options. Although IE² is not given a state charter status, it will be allotted the same advantages and perks given to schools with charter status basically turning a majority of Georgia’s public schools into a charter option. You are probably wondering why it is bad thing turning most of Georgia’s public schools into a charter or charter like system. Well the charter schools will be allocated a significant portion of incentive-funding over schools that choose Status Quo from the same education budget that has already sustained cuts to the tune of over $5B. Charter systems will not have to comply with most state laws while traditional public schools must comply with all state laws and regulations giving them less flexibility to innovate. Traditional School Systems will not receive additional funding and will not be eligible for waivers from the state. IE² and Charter schools are now allowed to create nonprofit foundations to solicit alternate funding while they already on average obtain $1,000,000 in contributions. This is not fair to the students or educators of traditional public schools that lose crucial educational instructional time and salaries based on a shortened academic year resulting from a lack of funding.
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