SCCPSS prepares for change under HB 338

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Georgia schools are preparing for change.

Under House Bill 338, the state will get more control over so-called low-performing schools.

Now, for the first time, we are hearing from the Savannah-Chatham County Public School Board president about this change.
The way SCCPSS officials describe this change is a way for the state to intervene in schools without the more extreme takeover plan that failed to get voter's support in November.

Two of the major changes between what failed with Georgia voters and what just passed the house and senate are this new bill allows school systems to maintain local control for at least three years before a possible takeover and the term "failing" has been replaced with "lowest-performing" schools.

"The voters voted it down for a good reason," said Jolene Byrne, SCCPSS Board president. "We
want local control and so this is kind of a compromise between the two. They're going to have some more intervention and authority at the same time they have to work with us."

Byrne says they are concerned about possible accountability issues when it comes to negotiating the contract between the new school turn-around officer and the district.  She is also concerned about where the funding will come from but is keeping an open mind about the changes to come.

"I think that this is one of those bills where until we see it in action, we don't know whether it's going to be the best thing ever or another turn in the wrong direction," she said.

Twelve schools would be eligible in Savannah and Chatham County to be a part of this.  Byrne says it will probably be a year before we know which schools will be targeted.

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