Georgia voters said ‘no’ in November to a constitutional amendment that would’ve let the state takeover some low-performing schools. The 'Opportunity School District' plan was championed by Gov. Nathan Deal, who promised to come up with a replacement after the vote failed. Now, he has.
House Bill 338, sponsored by five Republican House members, combines some principles from the governor’s takeover plan with suggestions from teachers groups and Democratic lawmakers.
The original plan would have let the governor appoint a superintendent to run low-performing schools, overriding the authority of local school boards. The new proposal would create a “Chief Turnaround Officer,” who would report to the state board of education, not the governor. But instead of taking over schools outright, the bill says the officer would develop a “system of assistance and support” in collaboration with schools and local boards.
The CTO would, however, have the authority to replace school staff or turn underperforming schools over to “successful” school districts or charter school operators. The officer would also determine what criteria the state would use to determine which schools need help. Under OSD, schools that earned an ‘F’ for three straight years on the state’s school rating system would have been eligible for a takeover.
The OSD plan also would have taken money from local districts to help run low-performing schools. HB 338 doesn’t identify a funding source.
The House Education Committee is expected to hold a hearing on the bill on Thursday.