Inaccurate information regarding waivers
Floyd County Schools has received a few emails and seen information on an Internet outlet that is distributing misleading information related to the charter renewal application. The issues in question were addressed in the first meeting held last week. These are not new issues or something new to charter systems. In fact, these same questions were raised five years ago when the school system first entered into a charter agreement. System administrators are very happy to talk about and address the concerns regarding waivers.
The options available to the system are not new options under charter. Floyd County Schools and all charter systems currently have a waiver from Title 20 rules which encompasses all issues being raised from class size to salary schedules. The system has had those options available to us under charter for the last five years. During that time, we did not act on decisions the misinformation is claiming could happen because it is not the right thing to do and would not improve the quality of education in the school system.
What the charter renewal document really seeks to accomplish
Charter works in two ways: freedom from rules and regulation and increased expectation of performance. The issues being raised are looking at only one side. They are raising issues that a system would use that is looking only to save money and not increase academic performance. The individual or group disseminating the misinformation has taken just the waivers listed in the document and attached their own ideas of what that could mean instead of seeking how the waivers would be utilized to help meet academic goals. You can't continue as a charter, if you are not increasing academic performance as a result of your decisions. Cramming as many students as possible into classes will not increase academic performance. Even as class sizes have risen in recent years due to cuts in funding, Floyd County Schools has managed to stay lower than most systems around us in Georgia. Also, if we cut the salary schedule and paid good teachers less than school systems around us, we would lose good teachers to other systems. That will not increase academic performance. We must have quality teachers to be successful.
In the Charter Application, you must look at the goals and the waivers together. The actions that are being shared by those providing misinformation would not lead to meeting the goals and challenges listed in the document. One challenge listed is: Help students perform at or above grade level. How would that challenge be addressed by the cost cutting measures being listed as options? Keeping students at grade level is a higher priority issue in the document than reducing the impact of retention. Both are important to a student graduating but performing on grade level is listed first because it is not only vital that students pass to the next grade level but that they be able to perform academically at the next level. All of the elements of the charter document must work together to address academic challenges.
The Charter Application should be looked at in its entirety rather than just the waiver section that has been cut out and speculation added by someone to use for misinformation. Looking at the document as a whole will provide context for any waiver that could be considered by the system. The waivers must address helping the system reach a goal or address a challenge. These are not stand alone line-items a charter system can use just to cut costs. Every action from waiver to innovation must help the system reach Destination Graduation - for every child.
Floyd County Schools looks forward to answering any questions individuals may have regarding the Charter System Application. The next public meeting regarding the application will be held on Thursday, October 30 at 3 p.m. You may also email questions to Contact Us.
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