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State Takeover Amendment Information
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The Facts about Opportunity School District 

 

What is the Opportunity School District?

The Opportunity School District is a proposed constitutional amendment that allows the state to take over schools that have scored 60 or below on Georgia’s College and Career Readiness Index (CCRPI) for three consecutive years. The OSD would be run by a superintendent answering directly to the governor.

 

There are four options available to the OSD superintendent:

  • Close the school;
  • Reorganize staff, firing and hiring teachers and principals;
  • Transfer the school to the State Charter Schools Commission; or
  • Direct local board to make changes at the OSD schools via contract.

The OSD is authorized to take up to 20 qualifying schools per school year with no more than 100 schools under its supervision at any time. As stated in the legislation, "the schools selected for inclusion in the OSD should represent geographic diversity, including urban and rural schools."

 

The facilities of qualifying schools that are transferred to the supervision of the OSD will then be controlled by the OSD. This includes textbooks, technology, media resources, instructional equipment and all other resources. The OSD will be responsible for maintenance and repair of the building, but the local board is responsible for extensive repairs and capital expenses.

 

 When Would the OSD Take Over Local Schools?

 

Schools will be eligible for takeover by the OSD on Jan. 1, 2017. A school will remain under the supervision of the OSD for a minimum of five consecutive years or, for OSD charter schools, for the term of the initial charter. If a school earns a rating above 60 on the CCRPI for three consecutive years, it will be released from the OSD. The maximum term a school will remain under the supervision of the OSD is 10 years. If an OSD school is converted to state charter status, renewal of its charter will remove the school from the OSD.

 

The OSD superintendent must specify by July 1 the intervention method most appropriate for each school selected for takeover. This information will be published on the state OSD website.

  

Why is the OSD Referendum Important?

 

In the November 2016 election, the following proposed state constitutional amendment will appear
before voters:

 

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order to improve student performance?

Parents, educators, and other stakeholders are concerned about the OSD for many reasons, including:

  • Parents lose say in local school and access to locally elected schools boards. The OSD superintendent is accountable only to the sitting governor and uses local tax dollars to create a duplicative Atlanta bureaucracy operating in perpetuity.
  • The OSD reduces students and schools to a failing number. Data is inconsistent; CCRPI, the measurement used to determine OSD eligibility, has changed several times since its implementation.
  • The OSD plan does not address why students and schools are struggling, and transparency is lacking. Reform and rulemaking are subject to the discretion of the OSD superintendent.
  • The OSD gives the state control over local tax dollars and local facilities. Local communities retain liability for local schools while the state seizes control of the schools.

 What Can I Do?

 

School stakeholders concerned about the OSD plan should use the coming months to educate their local communities about the OSD plan and initiate discussion of the pros and cons. Teachers and school leaders should use CCRPI data to demonstrate upward progress at the local level and encourage open and honest community discussion about resources needed to assist struggling students.

 

Remember that school email and other public resources should not be used for the distribution of non-educational material that directly advocates for or against the OSD referendum.


Click links below to learn more about the State Takeover Amendment

State School Takeover Proposal Deserves Overwhelming Defeat by Voters (Rome News-Tribune Editorial, July 2016)

 

OSD Takeover Rests on Flawed Foundation (PAGE Editorial by Dr. Allene Magill, June 2016)

 

Public School Takeover Bid By Deal Fails Basic Logic Test (AJC, June 29, 2016)

 

Vote No to Opportunity School District Legislation (Georgia PTA website)

 

Studying Georgia's Opportunity School District (Georgia Trend magazine, December 2015)

 

Community-Driven Strategies for Strong Public Schools in Georgia (Southern Education Foundation / Annenberg Institute for School Reform, December 2015) 


Gov. Deal" Carstarphen plan may shield APS schools from state takeover (Atlanta Journal Constitution, March 3, 2016)

 

Is Your Failed School on the State Takeover List (11Alive News)


APS Hires State Takeover Law Designer for Advice on Avoiding Takeover (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

 

The next phase of Nathan Deal's school takeover campaign now begins (Atlanta Journal Constitution, April 21, 2015) 

Opportunity School District Needs Transparency, Community Role (Georgia Budget & Policy Institute)

Opportunity School Districts Would Be Damaging for Georgia Education (Athens Banner-Herald)

Opinion: Who sees greatest opportunities from Deal’s Opportunity School District? (AJC Get Schooled Blog)

 

Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) 
P.O. Box 942270 | Atlanta, GA 31141-2270 
Phone: 770-216-8555 (Metro Atlanta) or 800-334-6861 

www.pageinc.org 

 

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