To be or not to be: a charter system

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | e-mail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Muscogee County School District is looking forward to some changes, and board members are giving the public a chance to decide on one of them.  The chance of schools moving to a charter system is causing a lot of excitement.

Muscogee County School District's Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Peggy Connell told News Leader Nine, "Basically it gives us flexibility to do some things and waive laws and in return we promise to increase student achievement."

The switch to a charter system for Muscogee County schools would essentially cut out the red tape when getting things done in local schools.

"It's a lot of accountability. We show student achievement, improvement - that's the only reason we're doing this, to improve student achievement and to make the rules fit us instead of a one size fits all," explained Connell.

Shaw High School Principal Dr. Jim Arnold added, "Anything we can do to increase local involvement and control over the educational process rather than state control is a good thing for us."

Arnold said the majority of employees in the school district are supporting the transition, "It gives the superintendent a little more financial freedom as far as class sizes, the way tests are administered and they way the state rules are applied to high schools in particular."

Connell agreed, "One thing great about Columbus, Georgia is we have choice, even in the public systems. I think that's a success for us. Whatever we can do to increase more choice for parents is a positive step."

In June the school district will find out if their application and letter of intent are accepted by the state.

The school district is holding two public forums this week for faculty, teachers, and parents to learn more about being a charter system and to voice their opinions. The meetings will take place Tuesday and Wednesday in room 106 of the Old Bradley Library. Both forums start at 5:30.