State BOE Approves Charter System Status
State Board of Education Approves Charter System Status for Floyd County Schools
Posted on 05/13/2010
The State Board of Education formally approved the charter system application of Floyd County Schools at their May meeting on Thursday, May 13, 2010. Floyd County Schools will be the sixth school system in Georgia to attain charter system status and will be the largest system to be approved for charter by the state. “Most say that large school systems, such as Floyd County, will not opt to go charter system so it is with great interest that we will be watching the progress of your system as you implement charter status,” stated Linda Zechmann, chair of the State Board of Education Charter Committee. “Floyd County will be a model for the state to show that large systems can effectively implement charter.” Floyd County Schools will begin operation as a Georgia charter system on July 1, 2010 and the five year charter contract with the state will run through June 30, 2015. The charter contract covers all Floyd County schools with the exception of the Floyd County Schools College & Career Academy. The College & Career Academy is currently operating as a charter school. 

Charter system status for a school system in Georgia offers freedom from state rules and regulations in exchange for the school system agreeing to goals of higher academic performance for students. “We are a progressive school system recognized as a leader in education initiatives throughout the state and nation,” stated Lynn Plunkett, superintendent of Floyd County Schools. “We look forward to reaching new heights in educational excellence for our children and community as we explore the opportunities available to us as a Georgia Charter System.” 

The vote by the State Board of Education concludes a 15 month process to seek flexibility and local control of education by the community. Superintendent Plunkett formed a community study committee in February, 2009 to consider flexibility options available from the state. All schools must choose between being a charter system, an IE2 system or a status quo system by 2013. The citizens committee made up of parents, community leaders, business executives, teachers and local school administrators studied the options for five months and recommended the system seek charter system status. The group then began work on the charter system application required by the state. The fruits of this group’s efforts to have the system approved as a Georgia Charter System School were realized with State Board action at their May meeting. For Teresa Lumsden, chair of the Floyd County Board of Education and a member of the citizens committee, this is an exciting opportunity for the school system. “We have proven ourselves capable of meeting challenges in the past,” Lumsden said. “With this new level of local control and freedom to do what is best for the children of Floyd County, the future just got much brighter for our children and our community.”

A major component of charter system status and one of the deciding factors noted by the Flexibility Committee in their decision to seek charter status is the importance of local school governance and decision making. Charter seeks to maximize community participation in the decision making process for schools and to move more important decisions related to a child’s education in the classroom to the local school level. The first item on Floyd County’s agenda as a charter system will be to establish Local School Governance Teams at each school. The Local School Governance Team structure developed by the citizens committee will include the school principal, two school staff members, and four parents or community leaders. These Local School Governance Teams will progress to making important decisions related to school personnel, academic programs, the school budget and school goals. Elections to the positions on the Local School Governance Teams will be held in September.

The first year’s focus will be to form the Local School Governance Teams and to provide training for these groups to deal with the important decisions that will lead to improved academic performance for our children. Teacher representatives on each Local School Governance Team will be elected by the school staff. Parents will be elected by the parents of the school. Parents and community leaders interested in serving on a Local School Governance Team should contact your school’s principal.

Local School Governance Team Structure
  • Principal of the school 
  • Two members of the school staff (one of whom must be a full-time certified staff member)
  • Four community members (two must be parents or guardians of students enrolled in the school)