Chatham County votes "no" on Amendment 1, SCCPSS board looking for options to help failing schools

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - One of the big questions Georgia voters decided "no" on Tuesday was Amendment One.

This would have allowed the state to take over failing schools, including six schools in Chatham County.

The Savannah-Chatham County Public School's Board of Education meeting is calling this a victory for the schools. At the meeting Wednesday, they said this is a win for them. They are thrilled that these failing schools will remain under local control.

I spoke with the superintendent who told me that the six failing schools in the system are considered a small number for large districts with over 20,000 students, but it's still too many. The board recognizes problems with the county's schools that would have qualified under Amendment One, but say that improvements need to be made within the community, not by the state.

He says the state needs to focus on making changes to the standards of how public schools in Georgia are graded and rated on performance so they can better address each school's problems at the local level.

"You can't keep changing the way you're going to calculate and then expect districts to succeed. So hopefully this will be a lesson learned for Atlanta. Maybe they'll lead and create some stability so that we can have highly reliable high-stake tests. And a highly-reliable formula for calculating how schools are doing," said SCCPSS Superintendent Dr. Thomas Lockamy.

For a school to be considered as failing that means it received a score of 60 or below for the at least three years in a row. The board says they are currently working on their plans of action to bring those schools' scores up.

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