Charter district petition vote delayed in DeKalb

An application to convert the DeKalb County School District into a “charter” system was tabled Wednesday amid public criticism.

The school board voted to remove the 49-page application from the evening’s agenda after a public hearing brought complaints from parents, teachers, a student and others. Most of the 11 speakers said the proposal to innovate improved service for low-income students and those who speak limited English was short on specifics. Some also worried about how the district would use requested waivers from state requirements that dictate maximum class sizes, minimum teacher pay, teacher credentials and other standards. The state granted some waivers during the recession when districts had financial reasons to cut teachers and increase class sizes, but a new law would eliminate waivers for districts that do not move to alter their governance by 2015. The law envisions pushing more decisions from the central office to the school level.

DeKalb Superintendent Michael Thurmond asked that his district’s petition be withdrawn and addressed at a meeting to be called later this month. The charter petition is available on the district website: www.dekalb.k12.ga.us.

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