Schools address questions about flexibility options

by Lindy Oller

The final two meetings concerning flexibility options to the Coweta County School System in 2015 were held Monday at East Coweta and Northgate high schools.

Leading the conversation on flexibility options at the East Coweta meeting was Coweta County School System Superintendent Dr. Steve Barker. Mark Whitlock, director of public policy for the school system and CEO of Central Educational Center, took the lead on discussing flexibility options at the Northgate meeting.

A letter of intent, Whitlock said, will need to be sent to the state board by June 30, 2015.

As of July 1, 2015, the state board will be unauthorized to grant waivers to school systems which do not choose to operate under greater flexibility.

School systems have the option of declaring to become a status quo, IE2 (Investing in Educational Excellence), or Charter System.

Questions that were raised by parents and community leaders at the Northgate session included the difference between the governments that are in charge of managing the IE2 and Charter System and if the local school governments would change under a Charter System.

Whitlock said a Charter System is managed by the state Department of Education. There are 28 school systems that currently use this system and 50 more school systems that are interested in changing to it.

“It takes three to six months to have a waiver processed in a Charter System,” said Whitlock.

An IE2 system, Whitlock said, is managed by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. There are three school systems that currently use this system.

“It takes eight to 24 months to process a waiver in an IE2 system,” said Whitlock.

A Charter System, Whitlock said, offers a broad range of flexibility. An IE2 system is single-focused and issues a penalty if schools are not meeting their standards for three out of five years of being evaluated. Both systems strive for educational excellence.

For more information on the flexibility plans, go to www.cowetaschools.org .



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