The Hartwell Sun, September 26, 2013
Lake Morris, Staff Writer
The Hart County Board of Education will have a big decision to make by its next meeting Oct. 14.
On Monday, a petition to become a charter system was finalized by the charter committee to go in front of the board for a vote of approval.
It was the second required meeting, following one held Sept. 19.
The committee was comprised of principals from all Hart County schools, as well as local interests.
If the board approves the petition, the petition is then sent to the Georgia Education Department by the Nov. 1 deadline, with the hope of being approved between March and May 2014.
The hope is to be a charter system by next school year.
If that happens, the board will then have to adopt a five-year plan for the duration of the charter and adopt a budget to fund the plan,
“We believe the charter system will allow us the flexibility that in turn allows for improving student academic results, and that is the bottom line,” Hart County superintendent Jerry Bell said.
The proposed charter has aspects, such as class exemption at the high school through seat time, course work for admission requirements, proactive support for struggling and advanced students and applying the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program at all school levels.
The charter system also allows the use of waivers for Title 20. Title 20 pertains to all education law in Georgia.
Some of the waivers available are to redefine graduation, allow credit by exam in the high school, redefine seat time and allow smaller classes.
The charter system also looks at giving more power to the schools. Under the charter, each school will have its student council turn into a governance body.
The governance teams will be comprised of six to nine people, with a minimum of two elected teachers, two elected parents and two people from the community selected by the governance team.
At the middle and high school, one to two students will also serve on the council.
“Principals will be the chair of these teams the first two years, then the teams will elect the chairman after,” Bell said.
A school system must also set goals under a charter, and Hart’s proposed charter reads that a percentage of students will be meeting or exceeding state standards for the ninth-grade end-ofcourse tests, fifth and eighth grade writing assessments, the CriterionReferenced Competency Tests (CRCT) for third through eighth graders and the graduation rate by the 2017-2018 school year.
To see the plan, you can go on the district website, at www.hart.k12.ga.us/.