Atlanta area schools may be next for ‘turnaround’

Schools in metro Atlanta could be in the next group to join Georgia’s new “turnaround” program.

Nearly half of the 104 schools whose performance on the state report card was poor enough to make them eligible are in metro Atlanta, mostly in the city of Atlanta and in DeKalb and Fulton counties.

“The data told us, you've got to look at Atlanta metro. The data told us something in sort of the Augusta area, and also in sort of southeast Georgia,” said Eric Thomas, who was hired in November to fill the state’s new "chief turnaround officer” post. “That's where we're going to be looking sometime this spring for the next set of schools and districts."

Thomas, who was speaking to state lawmakers at a joint  session of the state House and Senate education committees Thursday, had picked 11 schools in five rural school districts southwest of Atlanta for his first round in December.

If, after three years, the schools do not improve, they can be removed from control of the local school districts. That’s due to a 2017 law passed after voters rejected a constitutional amendment to establish a statewide “opportunity school district.”

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