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Frequently Asked Questions about HB 1209

1. Does a school system have to implement one of the operational systems by June 30, 2015?*

No. A letter of intent is due no later than June 30, 2015 to the Georgia Department of Education. However, those school systems that select IE2 or Charter System are expected to be actively engaged in the developmental process in order to implement the selected operational system in a timely manner.

 (*Date was modified by the Georgia General Assembly.)

 2. How long does the petition* process take if a system selects IE2or Charter System?

 If a school system submits an IE2 or Charter System petition to the Georgia Department of Education sometime between July and December, the school system's implementation of the flexibility choice may be operational the following school year. Some school systems will want more time for implementation and may ask for an extension.             

 (*Letter of Intent is a notification letter. A petition is a plan that was approved by the local board.)

 3. May a school system change its decision after submitting a letter of intent?

 Yes, but all of the relevant requirements must be met. For example, if a school system decides to forego IE2 in favor of Status Quo, public hearings must be held.

 4. May a school system that selected Status Quo by the June 30, 2015 deadline later apply for IE2 or Charter System status?

 Yes.

 5. Are there different types of Charters?

  Conversion charter school is a school that existed as a public school prior to becoming a charter school.

 Start-up charter school is a school started by private individuals, private organizations, or state and local public entities.

 Local Education Agency (LEA) start-up charter school is a new school started by the local school system as a charter school. It is a new school.

 State Chartered Special School is a charter school that has been denied by a local board of education, but has been approved by the State Board of Education.

 Commission charter school is a school approved by the Georgia Charter Schools Commission.

 Charter System provides the opportunity for teachers, administrators, parents, and local school boards to have greater flexibility to determine the educational needs of students within their district and requires school level governance.

6. How will the Georgia Department of Education handle a surge of IE2 and Charter System petitions?

The Department has developed a plan that includes the use of existing staff and external participants. All petitions will be reviewed in a timely manner, with a focus on quality.

7. How are the Highly Qualified requirements met if a system selects IE2 or Charter System and asks for a certification waiver?*

1) Must hold a bachelor's degree from a Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) approved institution of higher education; 2) Have evidence of subject matter competence in the subjects they teach; 3) Have a teaching assignment that is appropriate for the core academic area/subject(s) in which the teacher serves as the teacher of record.

 *For more information, please refer to the GaPSC website.

 8. What action(s) must a school district take prior to June 30, 2015 if Status Quo is selected?

 If the district chooses Status Quo then it must:

- Conduct a public hearing for the purpose of providing public notice that such local school system is opting for the Status Quo.

- The hearing shall be advertised in a local newspaper of general circulation which shall be the same newspaper in which other legal announcements of the local school board of education are advertised.

- School district must sign a statement that it is opting to be Status Quo.

9. What obligations must be met by IE2 and Charter System

Schools when serving students with disabilities? These service obligations remain unchanged. The Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) remains in effect for all public school systems receiving federal funds.

10. Will school systems receive increased QBE funds if they select IE2 or Charter System?

No. Flexibility under the contract may not be used to generate additional state funding beyond state allotments. School systems will continue to receive FTE funds based on the current weighting system and the number of students enrolled in the school system by program area. Charter Systems are eligible for approximately $100 per student, if the funds are appropriated by the Georgia General.