Category Archives: Opportunity School District

Plan B – Legislation For Chronically Failing Schools

There are over 100 schools across the state identified as chronically failing.  Governor Deal’s plan to address these chronically failing schools with the Opportunity School District (OSD) referendum was voted down by the public last November.
Plan B, otherwise known now as House Bill 338 (HB 338), is being billed as a collaborative effort with the Governor’s office, legislators from both parties, and various interest groups to address these schools.

SACS Kicked Out Of Georgia? – Part of this bill also includes creating a joint study committee to look into establishing a state accreditation process for public schools and school systems.
The committee will also consider the possible consequences of losing state accreditation that could be administered, such as removal of local board of education members.

Chief Turnaround Officer (CTO)
A Chief Turnaround Officer (CTO) would be appointed by the State Board and report directly to them. The CTO will recommend “Turnaround Coaches” to assist schools identified as in the greatest need of help with ongoing assistance and input.
Turnaround Coaches
Turnaround Coaches wil assist in creating local collaborations to address personal and community conditions, which shall include the needs, issues, and problems within the communities of such school or schools, such as poverty, lack of economic development, safety, transportation options for parents and students, adult educational opportunities, wellness, and mental health services and shall assist in identifying state and community resources that are available or that could be built upon, reallocated, or repurposed to address the issues impacting such school or schools.
Which Schools?
The Chief Turnaround Officer shall annually identify the low-performing schools that are in the greatest need of assistance based on the number of years such schools have received an unacceptable rating and any other factors deemed appropriate by the Chief Turnaround Officer. The number of schools identified annually shall be at the sole discretion of the Chief Turnaround Officer, based on the capacity and resources available to the Chief Turnaround Officer.
Plan C
If after two years of implementing the plan, the school is not improving, as determined by the Chief Turnaround Officer, the Chief Turnaround Officer shall require that one or more ofthe following interventions be implemented at the school, taking into consideration the ongoing cooperation and collaboration exhibited by the school:

  1. Give it some more time on the same plan
  2. Appoint a school master or management team to oversee and direct the duties of the principal of the school
  3. Removal of school house personnel
  4. Implementation of a state charter school
  5. Remove all personnel and reconstitute the school
  6. Mandatory parental option to relocate students to another public school in the school district
  7. Restructure the school’s governance arrangement
  8. Change governance of school to another school district
  9. Change governance of school to a private non profit entity
  10. Any other interventions or requirements deemed appropriate by the Chief Turnaround Officer and the State Board of Education for the school.

Removal of Local School Board
If One-half or more of the schools in a local school system have received an unacceptable rating, as defined by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA), for the fifth or more consecutive year, the State Board of Education will conduct a hearing and recommend to the Governor whether to suspend all eligible members of the local board of education.

Remove Central Office? – Note this bill currently allows for the CTO to remove the Board of Education and anybody in the school house. Apparently the central office is untouchable. While the Superintendent and senior administrators are most responsible for the performance of the schools and district, superintendents across the state wouldn’t let this bill pass if their jobs were on the line.
State Superintendent Richard Woods’ thougths? – The state legislature is working with everybody and their dog on this bill … except for the State Super and the GA DOE.
According to the AJC, Richard Woods is not taking a position on the bill yet. A spokesman said he will comment eventually, but needs time to review it. “He looks forward to working with the legislature and Gov. Deal on a bill that appropriately addresses improving under-performing schools,” the spokesman said.

DeKalb Board – OSD – Minority Report

Stan Jester
DeKalb County
Board Of Education

Last month the DeKalb Board of Education passed a resolution to oppose the governor’s Opportunity School District (OSD). The resolution was not unanimous, this is my minority report.
The OSD referendum hinges on the answer to two questions:
1. Does the state have any responsibility for the performance of local school districts?
2. If the state does not abdicate all responsibility to local school districts, then what is the alternative to OSD?
Schools in DeKalb have been failing in perpetuity. As of the latest financial report, DeKalb Schools has an operating surplus of almost $400 million. For the OSD-eligible schools, we are:
·  Giving stipends and signing bonuses to attract and retain talented, motivated teachers
·  Appropriating $1.9 million for literacy and mathematics initiatives
·  Spending $750K for the 10 Horizon schools to partner with Discovery Education
·  Spending $398K to partner with IIRP(International Institute for Restorative Practices) to reduce the number of suspensions
If we can’t improve the academic achievement of our failing schools with local control and almost $400 million operating surplus, our schools need to be taken over.