Message from Trenton Arnold and Superintendent Green: Region I Community Engagement Sessions:
Where: Dunwoody High School When: Wednesday, September 23 @ 6:00 PM
Over the past eighteen months, the DeKalb County School District has continued to move forward with its intention to obtain charter system status from the Georgia Department of Education. Five community engagement sessions have been scheduled, and anyone seeking the opportunity to provide input is invited to attend, including parents, teachers, and other community members.
The focus of these sessions is to get stakeholder input on the Local School Governance Teams that will be required at each school and how those teams will have the opportunity to assist in the governance of the school and request flexibility from state law and Department of Education rules and regulations.
Modifications to the petition to meet new Georgia Department of Education requirements continue.
As a standing reminder, the GA DOE has an established deadline of November 1, 2015, for submission of charter petition applications that wish to begin operating as a charter district at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year. The petition’s current draft can be reviewed at the link below: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/charter-system-petition/charter-system-application-cover-sheet.pdf
You are also encouraged to review information from the Georgia Department of Education concerning charter systems. This information can be found at the following web address: http://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/Charter-Schools/Pages/default.aspx
We thank you in advance for your participation and look forward to seeing you soon!
The following dates have been set for the Community Engagement Sessions:
According to O.C.G.A. § 20-2-81.3, by June 30, 2015 each local school system must choose to operate as one of the following:
Investing in Educational Excellence School System (IE2)
Status Quo School System
Strategic School System
System of Charter Schools
DeKalb Schools Region 2 Superintendent Trenton Arnold was tasked with putting the petition together to approach the state Board of Education.
Trenton Arnold responds to some questions I had regarding this state law. Question: What is the status of DeKalb Schools’ Flexibility Decision? Answer:
O.C.G.A. § 20-2-84.3 states that “[n]o later than June 30, 2015, each local school system shall notify the [Department of Education] of its intention to request increased flexibility pursuant to this article or shall comply with subsection (b) of Code Section 20-2-80.”
O.C.G.A. §20-2-80 subsection (b) then states that “a local school system may elect not to request increased flexibility in exchange for increased accountability and defined consequences and opt to remain under current laws, rules, regulations, policies, and procedures….”
What is required by this law is that each district is to notify the Georgia Department of Education of the intent to seek flexibility. This is done through a submitted Letter of Intent which the DeKalb County School District initially submitted in April 2014, and then resubmitted a revised Letter of Intent in April 2015. Both of these letters met the annual May 1 submission deadline for Letters of Intent from the Georgia Department of Education.
The reason for the refiling was that the initial letter stated that the first operational year as a charter district would be the 2015-2016 school year; however, at the October 2014 DeKalb BOE meeting, the administration recommended delaying the start year for one full school year to allow for additional time for community input on the charter petition. Since the initial submission, the Georgia Department of Education has continuously recognized that DeKalb intends to become a charter system, and it has produced documents to that effect. At last report, there are forty districts in the state that have not complied with the legal mandate to submit their flexibility intentions before June 30, 2015. It is often mistakenly believed that districts must become operational by June 30, 2015, or that they must submit a petition by June 30, 2015, but as noted above, the only legal requirement is to submit the Letter of Intent, and DeKalb has met that obligation. Question: What is the status on implementing that choice? Answer:
At the October 2014 Board meeting, the administration recommended that the DeKalb County Board of Education adopt the charter petition but allow for additional revisions to the petition to advance the start year to the
2016-2017 school year. This recommendation will also and more importantly allow the district to return to internal and external stakeholders to gather additional information and input, and submit the petition to the Georgia Department of Education no later than November 1, 2015, which is the required petition submission date for district’s to become operational at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year. The Board tabled the vote in October.
[Update Posted on 07/11/2015]
Dr. R. Stephen Green
CEO & Superintendent
DeKalb County School Distric sent via email
The DeKalb County School District is approaching the GA DOE’s deadline of November 1, 2015, for submission of the district’s charter petition application that would allow DeKalb to begin operating as a charter district at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year. Consequentially, without a called meet-ing, this requires that the petition be presented to the Board at their October 5, 2015, meeting as a reso-lution for adoption. To that end, the Superintendent and administrative staff will establish meeting dates with Board members to review the flexibility options and the current path that the district has chosen. At the direction of the Superintendent, the district’s administrative staff is also establishing plans to seek out further stakeholder input on the drafted petition through additional community engagement sessions in each of the five regions. These engagement sessions will focus primarily on the local school governance elements required of a charter system as well as the processes associated with approving waivers requested by individual schools; however, other topics and concerns will also be welcomed as they will allow the district the opportunity to improve and finalize the petition prior to presentation to the Board for adoption.
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them.” — Frederick Douglass
“Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.”