Wow. I don’t think anyone saw this coming.
Yesterday, after quickly approving the Warren County charter application, the State Board of Ed got stuck on Decatur’s nomination. According to the Gainesville Times…
“Gainesville City Schools was fourth on the list for a vote, but the board never got to it, after discussing the application of Decatur Schools system at length. Cox recommended Decatur get systemwide charter status, but a charter school study committee recommended it be denied by a vote of 5-0, said committee chair Linda Zechman, who is also a state board of education member.
After lengthy discussion, board members decided to defer a decision on the other school systems because both Cox and state board chair Wanda Barrs had to leave the meeting at 5 p.m.”
As for the reasons it was denied, we look to the AP article on the decision…
“Some board members said they likely won’t approve the other applications even if revisions are made because the districts refuse to accept a fundamental piece of creating a charter school – reducing the role of school boards and superintendents in running schools.
“I really don’t believe power is being given to these schools in these petitions,” board member Mary Sue Polleys said.”
And the AJC...
“[The] Second [application] was supposed to be Decatur, although that’s when the wheels appeared to come of the wagon; because of the months-long review and the recommended approval by Cox, most presumed Decatur’s application would be approved.
But several members specifically voiced displeasure with how Decatur would involve parents and staff in leading individual schools. Decatur plans involved “leadership teams” of parents and community members that would have a bigger say than ever in finance and program decisions. But members said they did not think it was enough.
“Perhaps an interpretation [of the proposal] would be they met minimum requirements,” board member Mary Sue Polleys said. “I don’t believe they are very different than what schools have been doing with site-based management since the 1990s.”
We’ll have to see how far CDS is willing go to get approval. It sounds like they will have to make some serious modifications on how the school system is led (reducing the power of the school board and superintendent) to get consideration from the board.
They have until next month’s State Board of Ed meeting to make the needed modifications.