MOULTRIE — As part of becoming a state Charter System, schools in Colquitt County will soon get leadership teams made up of school personnel, parents and community members.
Parents who want to be considered for the leadership team at their students’ school need to let the principal know by Thursday.
Becoming a Charter System will allow the school system more flexibility while holding it accountable for meeting established goals. The county Board of Education expects the state Department of Education to grant it a contract starting July 1, and forming the Local School Governance Teams at each of the system’s 13 schools is the next step of the process to make that happen.
Not only will the Charter System designation give the school system more flexibility, it also will mean an extra $81 per pupil, which could add up to $750,000 over the five-year life of the contract.
The flexibility will come in the form of no longer having to seek waivers from the state department each year for things like an increase in class sizes. Schools Superintendent Samuel DePaul said that the system had to decide between maintaining the status quo, IE Squared or Charter System. Under the status quo, the system would no longer be eligible for waivers.
“Under IE Squared you have to pick three or four waivers that you’re going to focus on,” he said. “(Systems) don’t get any money to be an IE Squared system.”
The extra money for charter systems can be used for improvements to the system, but not for other purposes such as cutting taxes by an equivalent amount, DePaul said.
A charter system that does not meet its goals can be refused a second five-year contract.
The governance teams for elementary schools will consist of the principal, two full-time teachers, one certified full-time support or leadership person, two parents or guardians of one or more students in the school, a community member who is not associated with the school system and is not a parent or guardian, and one member of the Colquitt County business community.
At Willie J. Williams Middle School, C.A. Gray Junior High and Colquitt County High, the principal will have the option of appointing a student in the place of one of the community member positions.
Those appointed to the teams will be required to undergo training. The teams will be required to have at least six meetings per year, and like other governing bodies their meetings must be advertised and open to the public, and their minutes must be made available.
“They’re formal meetings,” DePaul said. “That’s one of the key differences between these and the (existing) school councils.
“You can almost liken it to a mini school board, with the principal being the superintendent,” he said.
Each meeting of a governance team must include personnel, curriculum, finances and school operations as items on its agenda. The teams can make recommendations, but the decisions ultimately rest with the principal and/or the county school board.
The two teachers on the new councils will be elected by teachers, and parents will be elected by a meeting of parents.
Parents interested in serving can contact the principal at their children’s school through April 30. Between May 1-8 announcements will be made to parents on when the vote on parent members will be held.
Parents must be present to participate in voting.
School principals will select the certified support or leadership member. The principal will then bring two names of community members to the three school personnel and two parents to vote on.