DeKalb School Board publicly opposes state school takeover proposal
The DeKalb County School Board on Sept. 19 voted 5-1 to oppose a proposal on the ballot in November that would allow the state to take over struggling schools.
School Board member Stan Jester was the only “no” vote against the school board’s statement urging residents to vote “no” on the idea.
“Local control of education is a bedrock American principle,” the School Board’s statement says. “We strongly believe that citizens whose taxes pay for a majority of the cost of educating our children should exercise control over decisions relating to that education. We believe it is not only wrong but risky to give up local control to a new state bureaucracy.”
The Opportunity School District would allow the state to take over schools deemed “chronically failing,” including two-dozen in DeKalb County. In recent months, DeKalb County Schools said it has made strides toward improving these schools and they are on their way to leaving the list of schools eligible for a state takeover.
According to Public Education Matters Georgia, a public advocacy group, 32 School Boards have gone on the record opposing the Opportunity School District. Atlanta’s School Board has not taken a position on it, nor has City Schools of Decatur.
As the Atlanta Journal Constitution notes, some school districts that aren’t likely to be affected by the Opportunity School District have come out against the proposal. According to the AJC, “The Forsyth County Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution opposing the OSD despite having some of the state’s highest-performing schools.”
Here is the full statement approved by the DeKalb County Board of Education:
After careful consideration, the DeKalb County Board of Education urges voters to vote NO on proposed Constitutional Amendment #1, the Opportunity School District amendment.
Local control of education is a bedrock American principle. We strongly believe that citizens whose taxes pay for a majority of the cost of educating our children should exercise control over decisions relating to that education. We believe it is not only wrong but risky to give up local control to a new state bureaucracy. The Board strongly believes that the answer to improved academic outcomes and achievement is in the classroom and the schoolhouse, with motivated, well-trained teachers; engaged, challenged students; and involved, supportive parents, caregivers, and communities.
To accomplish our goals of restoring DeKalb’s national reputation for academic excellence and for providing world-class services to our students, staff, and communities, DeKalb County Schools will continue to invest in our children and our teachers. We have demonstrated our commitment over the last year by eliminating all teacher furlough days and granting multiple pay increases for our teachers and staff. We are steadfast in our commitment to improve educational outcomes for all DeKalb students as we transform our schools through rigor, relevance, and relationships. Voting NO to a state takeover of our local schools will allow DeKalb to continue its progress for all our children.