Last week, a handful of community members met at Dunwoody High School to air their concerns and ask questions about what this charter petition will entail.
Trenton Arnold, regional superintendent for District 3 and chair of the district’s petition efforts, said the district is moving forward with its plans and gave a timeline of necessary upcoming events. On Monday, there will be a board update during the work session and the first required public hearing.
-Sept. 10: there will be a flexibility advisory committee meeting
-Oct. 6: another board update during the work session and the second required public hearing
-Oct. 6: resolution by the DeKalb school board and proposed adoption of the charter petition.
Arnold said the Oct. 6 date for adoption was something that could change to a later date if the school board feels they need more time to discuss or would like more public input.
The charter petition must detail the performance expectations the district will meet — College and Career Readiness Performance Index, Beating the Odds a new measurement of student growth for charter schools and systems — and local school governance and autonomy.
“The district must establish a clear plan to maximize school level governance,” said Arnold.
Several questions were raised by the community during the meeting, such as will the charter discourage future charter cluster petitions like Druid Hills, how will a local governance team be chosen, what will be the impact on teacher contracts and benefits and will every school have its own governance board.
In addressing the crowd, Arnold said each of the 137 schools in DeKalb’s district will have its own local school governance board, which would go through an election process of selection. If the school district does become a charter system, every school will be a part, but they can decide later on to not be governed by the district petition and seek to become a conversion charter at any time.
“State law said those [current charters] have the option of maintaining their current petition with the state or joining the district petition,” he said.
He said the charter system will not change anything with teacher contracts or benefits because those will remain a function of the school district’s central office. Arnold said the notion of autonomy and roles of everyone including central office staff, parents, teachers and administrators will possibly need to change.