LarryMajor

LarryMajor 8 months, 3 weeks ago on State withdraws from test development consortium

Gwinnett’s RTTT application did include a commitment to implement assessments based on Common Core, but these tests do not have to come from PARCC. (The waiver you mentioned is for the federal NCLB funding requirement, which is a different animal.) The test we - both Gwinnett and Georgia - will use does not yet exist. It will be the test that Dr. Barge said the state will develop. This is in complete compliance with our RTTT application. Dr. Barge is a very sharp guy and when he says he can develop a Common Core based assessment for a fraction of what PARCC participation would have cost, I not only believe him, but also think other states will come to us to be involved. We will definitely bear the cost of implementing a new test, but it will be one other than that developed by PARCC.

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LarryMajor 8 months, 3 weeks ago on State withdraws from test development consortium

We have spent nothing. Involvement is voluntary and, up to this point, required no funding by participating states.

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LarryMajor 11 months ago on School board plans millage rate hike

The debt is comprised of bond issues which were approved by voters. After we first approved the SPLOST, we didn’t have to float bonds to build new schools and, because of maturities and refinancing, the outstanding debt has been declining. That’s why the debt service millage rate has been reduced several times since the first SPLOST and currently stands at less that half of what we used to pay.

The reality is that 1.3 mills no longer generate enough revenue to service the outstanding debt because of the decrease in property values and a rate increase is the only option. If the debt service millage rate begins to generate more than needed, the BOE will reduce the rate just like they did the last three or so times.

Concerning the M&O rate raising more than estimated, you better hope that this is exactly what will happen. If revenue is underestimated it can cause a budget deficit, which is a violation of state law and carries some pretty ugly sanctions. Some of our neighboring school systems have exactly this problem because they mishandled their budgets.

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LarryMajor 1 year, 5 months ago on Charter amendment passes

The approval mechanism for the new commission is identical to that of the first commission. The State BOE has the final word on all commission approvals which means, just like before, the Charter Schools Division will independently and simultaneously process every appeal the commission processes. This is duplication of efforts, not replication. Since the State BOE will continue to perform its current function, regardless of which body the petitioner chooses to appeal, it obviously had nothing to do with the reasons behind the amendment proposal.

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LarryMajor 1 year, 5 months ago on Charter amendment passes

Charter schools are public schools and may not reject a student with special needs. The reason you don’t hear much about it is because these kids’ parents rarely enroll them in a charter school, but it has happened.

The one case with which I’m familiar was handled by the host school system providing the required services to the charter school student. This is why the us/them mentality displayed by rabid charter school “supporters” is counter-productive for everyone.

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LarryMajor 1 year, 5 months ago on Judge tosses out complaint against GCPS

New Life Academy of Excellence is an independent Startup Charter School approved by GCPS and has been operating since 2006. Ivy Prep currently operates as a state charter school, an approval it got only six months ago. It actually demonstrates the current appeal process works and there is no need to change anything.

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LarryMajor 1 year, 5 months ago on LETTERS: Voting yes to charter school amendment would ensure fairness

Representative Lindsey, with all due respect, you are addressing a hypothetical legal situation, when we have a current, more extensive problem.

Austerity reductions for both the current school year and last year were around 20 percent of QBE calculated funding. The reason for these funding cuts is, of course, that state resources simply do not exist. This unfortunately results in furlough days and two-thirds of our public school systems operating on less than 180 instructional days.

The exact cost of creating another commission is speculative, but there would be some state funding required. I contend that it would be more responsible to use available state resources for the overwhelming majority of public school students, rather use the funding to protect against a hypothetical court case file by someone who shows no evidence of existence.

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LarryMajor 1 year, 5 months ago on YARBROUGH: Charter school amendment is more about 'how' than 'what'

The State Department of Education hears appeals under the 1988 Charter Schools Act. The court case involved the only Georgia Charter Schools Commission Act. This is what the majority said:

"State chartered special schools" established under the Charter Schools Act of 1988, OCGA § 20-2-2060 et seq., are not in issue in this appeal and we intimate no opinion as to their status under the 1983 Georgia Constitution.

The ruling had no effect on the SDOE’s authority.

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LarryMajor 1 year, 6 months ago on YARBROUGH: Pro-charter amendment forces try to bully opponents

The situation even more one-sided than the points you mentioned.

A few days ago, the Georgia Charter Schools Association abused its affiliation with public charter schools when it urged charter school leaders to use publicly funded resources to elicit support for Amendment 1. The request was from Nina Rubin, Director of Communications for the Georgia Charter Schools Association, and read in part: “Please distribute this email to your teaching and support staff today: We are working under a very tight deadline to put together an ad that will run in local media with the names of Educators, School Leaders & Teachers who support public charter schools. If you support Amendment One, and would like your name included, please send me the following information today or by noon tomorrow." You might think the Georgia Charter Schools Association simply didn’t know it was wrong to use public school resources to gather support for the amendment – except for one thing. Last month they issued a press release written by Rae Anne Harkness, one of the plaintiffs who sued Fulton and Gwinnett for, um, using school resource to oppose Amendment One.

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