Tuesday, March 20, 2012

State Board of Education Recommends Suspension of Miller County Board of Education

The State Board of Education today voted unanimously to recommend to the Governor suspension with pay of the Miller County Board of Education. The State Board conducted a hearing pursuant to O.C.G.A. 20-2-73, relating to recommendations for potential suspension of local boards of education for governance related issues. Attached is a copy of the Georgia code section for reference.

The following statement was read by the Chair of the State Board of Education, Barbara Hampton at the conclusion of the hearing:

Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 20-2-73(a)(1), Suspension and removal of local school board members under certain circumstances, the Georgia State Board of Education has received and reviewed all reports requested since the initial hearing date of November 28, 2011 in addition to the testimony heard and evidence presented today. In accordance with the official vote, the State Board of Education hereby recommends to the Governor to suspend with pay all members of the Miller County Board of Education this day of March 20, 2012.

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O.C.G.A. § 20-2-73
GEORGIA CODE
Copyright 2011 by The State of Georgia
All rights reserved.
*** Current Through the 2011 Extraordinary Session ***
TITLE 20. EDUCATION
CHAPTER 2. ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION
ARTICLE 3. LOCAL BOARDS OF EDUCATION
O.C.G.A. § 20-2-73 (2011)
§ 20-2-73. Suspension and removal of local school board members under certain
circumstances
(a) (1) Notwithstanding Code Section 20-2-54.1 or any other provisions of law to the
contrary, if a local school system or school is placed on the level of accreditation immediately
preceding loss of accreditation for school board governance related reasons by one or more
accrediting agencies included in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (6) of Code Section 20-3-519,
the State Board of Education shall conduct a hearing in not less than ten days nor more than 30
days and recommend to the Governor whether to suspend all eligible members of the local
board of education with pay. If the State Board of Education makes such recommendation, the
Governor may, in his or her discretion, suspend all eligible members of the local board of
education with pay and, in consultation with the State Board of Education, appoint temporary
replacement members who shall be otherwise qualified to serve as members of such board.
(2) Notwithstanding Code Section 20-2-54.1 or any other provisions of law to the contrary, if
a local school system or school has been placed on, as of April 20, 2011, the level of
accreditation immediately preceding loss of accreditation for school board governance related
reasons by one or more accrediting agencies included in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (6) of
Code Section 20-3-519 and does not reattain full accreditation status by July 1, 2011, the State
Board of Education shall conduct a hearing in not less than ten days nor more than 30 days and
recommend to the Governor whether to suspend all members of the local board of education
with pay. If the State Board of Education makes such recommendation, the Governor may, in
his or her discretion, suspend all members of the local board of education with pay and, in
consultation with the State Board of Education, appoint temporary replacement members who
shall be otherwise qualified to serve as members of such board.
(b) Any local board of education member suspended under this Code section may petition the
Governor for reinstatement no earlier than 30 days following suspension and no later than 60
days following suspension. In the event that a suspended member does not petition for
reinstatement within the allotted time period, his or her suspension shall be converted into
permanent removal, and the temporary replacement member shall become a permanent
member and serve out the remainder of the term of the removed member.
(c) Upon petition for reinstatement by a suspended local board of education member, the
Governor or his or her designated agent shall conduct a hearing for the purpose of receiving
evidence relative to whether the local board of education member's continued service on the
local board of education is more likely than not to improve the ability of the local school system
or school to retain or reattain its accreditation. The appealing member shall be given at least 30
days' notice prior to such hearing. Such hearing shall be held not later than 90 days after the
petition is filed and in accordance with Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative
Procedure Act," except that the individual conducting the hearing shall have the power to call
witnesses and request documents on his or her own initiative. For purposes of said chapter and
any hearing conducted pursuant to this Code section, the Governor shall be considered the
agency, and the Attorney General or his or her designee shall represent the interests of the
Governor in the hearing. If it is determined that it is more likely than not that the local board of
education member's continued service on the local board of education improves the ability of
the local school system or school to retain or reattain its accreditation, the member shall be
immediately reinstated; otherwise, the member shall be permanently removed, and the
temporary replacement member shall become a permanent member and serve out the
remainder of the term of the removed member or until the next general election which is at
least six months after the member was permanently removed, whichever is sooner. Judicial
review of any such decision shall be in accordance with Chapter 13 of Title 50.
(d) Paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of this Code section shall apply to a local school system or
school which is placed on the level of accreditation immediately preceding loss of accreditation
on or after April 20, 2011.
(e) This Code section shall apply to all local board of education members, regardless of when
they were elected or appointed.
HISTORY: Code 1981, § 20-2-73, enacted by Ga. L. 2010, p. 452, § 8/SB 84; Ga. L. 2011, p.
1, § 12/HB 326; Ga. L. 2011, p. 26, § 3/SB 79; Ga. L. 2011, p. 752, § 20/HB 142.

Senate Leadership Applauds Passage of Charter School Constitutional Amendment!

House Resolution 1162 passed the state Senate with a vote of 40 to 18 on Monday. Having received two-thirds majority vote, the Constitutional amendment will now be placed on the ballot for a vote by Georgia citizens. Leadership from the state Senate Majority Party including Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R- Woodstock), President Pro Tempore Tommie Williams (R-Lyons), Sen. Ronnie Chance (R-Tyrone), and Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody), chairman of the Committee on Education and Youth, offered the following statements regarding the vote:

“This resolution is about doing what is right for students, families, and communities throughout Georgia,” said Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers. “Years from now, we will look back at the hurdles we have overcome in order to advance education reform in Georgia, and mark today as a milestone in our fight for educational freedom and choice.”

“Education reform is a bipartisan issue affecting all Georgians. That being said, I am proud of my colleagues for the leadership they displayed in passing this positive piece of legislation that will ultimately allow parents to make the best choices for their children regarding their education,” stated President Pro-Tempore Tommie Williams. “The steps we took will not only ensure educational freedom in Georgia, but also support our effective charter school system – both of which will significantly impact the future of our state.”

“We were successful in moving Georgia’s education system forward for our children. This measure will place the choice in the hands of parents, who should be the ultimate voice when it comes to their children’s education,” said Sen. Ronnie Chance, chairman of Economic Development Committee. “Education is the biggest economic driver for Georgia, and this resolution will ensure our students have the options that they need to better equip themselves for college and their future careers.”

“This is a huge step forward for school choice in Georgia,” said Sen. Fran Millar, chairman of the Senate Education and Youth committee. “Test scores do not lie – our state charter schools repeatedly reach high levels of achievement in core subjects of math, language arts and science. The Georgia Supreme Court’s decision could have singlehandedly derailed a successful learning program. I am pleased to see the Senate take action to allow the State Board of Education to be a partner alongside local school districts in the development and funding of charter schools.” HR 1162 reasserts the state’s role in public education that was stripped by the Georgia Supreme Court in May of 2011 with a controversial 4-3 vote. This invalidated the General Assembly’s creation of an alternative authorizer for charter schools. HR 1162 defines a state charter school in the Georgia Constitution; providing that a state charter schools only be public, nonsectarian, nonreligious, and nonprofit, and regulates that the state is not allowed to lower extra funding to the local districts when a student leaves for a state charter school.