By: Stuart Bennett | August 20, 2010, 11:48 am

The August meeting of the Georgia State Board of Education reached historic proportions this month with an appearance from Governor Perdue at the Wednesday work session.  Perdue made this unprecedented appearance; to support a presentation on the recent CRCT cheating investigations conducted in the Atlanta Public and Dougherty County School Systems by Kathleen Mathers, Executive Director of his office of Student Achievement; to voice his displeasure with the final recommendations stemming from these investigations that he "found to be incomplete and "woefully inadequate in scope and depth”; and to announce his appointment of a special investigator to conduct an in-depth investigation in the two systems. This special investigator will have subpoena power, meaning he or she will be able to compel witnesses to testify. Under state law, an investigator can refer cases to local district attorneys or to the state Attorney General’s Office for prosecution. State law prohibits falsifying state documents but there is no law specifically against cheating on tests. The Governor closed his presentation by stating that this investigation will begin “as soon as possible.”  (For additional information please read the Interim State Board Report filed for GSBA by Dr. Jim Pucket that follows this report.)


Earlier on Wednesday Morning prior to the excitement of the Governor’s appearance; the Rules, Budget and Charter committees met to deliberate the items of business before the board. The Rules committee recommended action to:


  • Adopt the amendment to State Board of Education Rule 160-4-2-.20 STATE-FUNDED K-8 SUBJECTS AND 9-12 COURSES FOR STUDENTS ENTERING NINTH GRADE IN 2008 AND SUBSEQUENT YEARS. The rule is being amended to change the Mathematics Support III course from an elective (e) course to a core (c) course to provide flexibility and options for students struggling to meet the mathematics requirements for high school graduation. The mathematics portion of the amendment will be effective for two years. By allowing the Mathematics Support III course to count as a core credit course, students struggling to meet mathematics graduation requirements will have additional time and support in the completion of the required units in mathematics. These students at risk of not passing the Georgia High School Graduation Test in Mathematics will have the option of taking Mathematics Support III as a core credit course in the junior year of high school followed by either Mathematics III or Mathematics III/Fourth Year Options.


  • Repeal State Board of Education Rule SBOE 160-5-1-.28 STUDENT ENROLLMENT AND WITHDRAWAL. This rule is proposed for repeal in order to adopt a new rule with the same rule number in order to provide local education agencies with an updated rule that includes withdrawal coding requirements that comply with federal regulations and a clarification of who may enroll students in public schools in compliance with state laws.


  • Adopt State Board of Education Rule SBOE 160-5-1-.28 STUDENT ENROLLMENT AND WITHDRAWAL. after the repeal of the current rule, this proposed new rule will bring the rule into compliance with federal regulations 34 C.F.R. Part 200 which pertain to the documenting and recording of students who have withdrawn in addition to addressing the provisions of the recently enacted legislation which allows grandparents to enroll their grandchildren in a public school through a power of attorney. This new rule also addresses the provisions enacted in 2010 which pertains to the enrollment and withdrawal for the children of transitioning military children.


  • Initiate rulemaking procedures to repeal State Board of Education Rule 160-5-1-.01 SCHOOL YEAR; Rule 160-5-1-.02 SCHOOL DAY FOR STUDENTS; Rule 160-5-1-.06 EMPLOYEE WORK DAY; and Rule 160-4-2-.16 SCHEDULING FOR INSTRUCTION.


  • Adopt a new 160-5-1-.02 SCHOOL DAY AND SCHOOL YEAR FOR STUDENTS AND EMPLOYEES. The proposed new rule combines the four previously repealed rules and provides clear definitions and requirements for minimum daily average instructional time for students in grades kindergarten through twelve. It also provides definitions and requirements for students who may be exempt from the required minimum daily average instructional time. The requirements in the rule reflect revisions to the definition of a school year to include 180 days or the equivalent.


The state board approved the following waivers this month:


  • Waiver of SBOE Rule 160-4-8-.12 ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION PROGRAM, section (2) (n) and/or (2) (o) to decrease minimum instructional time to award a unit of credit and/or decrease the minimum daily average instructional time for 12 systems.
  • Peach County High School Graduation Requirements approve the request from Peach County Schools to waive SBOE Rules 160-4-2-.47 & 160-4-2-.48 High School Graduation Requirements, sections (2) (g) & (6) (i), so as to vary from a strict interpretation of providing at least 135 instructional hours to earn 1 unit of high school credit for the 2009-2010 school year for the 1,133 students effected.
  • Waive the requirement for equal expenditures according to Section (2)(m) of Rule 160-4-8-.12 Alternative/Non-traditional Education Programs for the Chattooga and Meriwether school systems
  • Approve for the 2010-2011 and the 2011-2012 school years, the waiver of SBOE Rule 160-4-8-.05 Guidance Counselors for local education agencies (LEAs) in Appling, Long and Tattnall Counties.
  • Approve for the 2010-2011 and/or 2011-2015 school years, the waiver of SBOE Rule 160-4-2-.05 Middle School Programs for the local education agencies (LEAs) in Buford City, Decatur, Clinch and Harris counties.
  • Approve for the 2008-2009 and/or 2009-2010 school year, the hardship waivers provided in SBOE Rule 160-5-1-.29 Minimum Direct Classroom Expenditures (3)(b) and O.C.G.A. § 20-2-171(b)(4) for Jenkins and Wilcox Counties.
  • Approve for the 2010-2011 and/or 2011-2012 school years, the waiver of SBOE Rule 160-5-1-.22 Personnel Required for Appling, Chattooga, McIntosh and Tattnall Counties
  • Approve for the 2009-2010 school year, the waiver of SBOE Rule 160-5-3-.08 School Bus Drivers as authorized by O.C.G.A. § 20-2-244 for the local education agency (LEA) for Bleckley County.
  • approve for the 2010-2011 school year the waiver of SBOE Rule 160-5-1-.01 SCHOOL YEAR, section (1)(b), (2)(a) to decrease 190 full-length days for certified staff to less than 176 full-length days for certified staff for twelve systems.
  • Approve for two years beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, the hardship waiver provided in SBOE Rule 160-5-3-.11 Standard Cost Development for Appling County


The state board took the following budget actions this month:


  • Accept a grant from The Center for Educational Leadership and Technology (CELT) in the amount of $300,000 and to enter into contracts with vendors to implement the terms and conditions of the grant award.
  • Contract with Covendis Technologies at a cost not to exceed $2,098,049.00 in State/Federal funds.
  • Grant to 84 21st CCLC programs at a cost not to exceed $28,093,008 in Federal Funds for the continuation of non-school hour programs and to accept the voluntary withdrawals of five sub-grantees and the termination of two sub-grantees.
  • Grant to three state agencies at a cost not to exceed $1,186,929 in Federal funds for Title I, Part D, and Subpart 1. The purpose of Title I, Part D, Subpart 1 grant is to provide supplemental funding to state agencies to ensure neglected and delinquent children achieve the state's high academic achievement standards.
  • Grant to 30 local educational agencies (LEAs) at a cost not to exceed $1,479,710 in Federal Funds for McKinney-Vento continuation grants for homeless children and youth.
  • award the Even Start Family Literacy Grant to the Department of Early Care and Learning for the purpose of sub-granting second-year awards to ten Even Start Family Literacy programs at a cost not to exceed $322,267.00 in Federal funds.
  • Grant to Southwest Georgia RESA at a cost not to exceed $423,302.00 in Federal Funds (Title III and Title I-A) for the Statewide Title III Consortium of school districts with low-density ELL enrollments.
  • Grant to local school districts at a cost not to exceed $15,192,618.00 in Federal Funds to support identification, assessment, and service to Limited English Proficient (LEP) and Immigrant students.
  • Contract with Pearson at a cost not to exceed $85,000.00 in Federal Funds for Work Sampling System (WSS) licenses, training, and manuals.
  • Contract with the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia to increase by $15,211.00 for a new total contract not to exceed $1,360,789.00 in State Funds for the inclusion of the Grade 3 Writing Assessment for the 2010-2011 school year.


The state board took the following actions with Charter Schools:


  • Grant a renewed charter to Whitfield County Career Academy, a grade 9-12 start up charter career academy in Whitfield County, for a twenty-three month term beginning August 1, 2010 and ending June 30, 2012.
  • Approve the request of the Chesnut Charter School to amend its charter to allow the school to determine the most effective use of its media center resources and make recommendations about the role and responsibility of its media specialist
  • Approve the request of the Odyssey School/Georgia Cyber Academy to amend its charter to allow the addition of ninth grade to the Georgia Cyber Academy.



Finally the Governor appointed a new member of the state board to fill the seat vacated by Dr. Mary Sue Pollys some 18 months ago. He is Mr. Joey Loudermilk is the latest addition to the Board representing District Three.  He is general counsel, corporate secretary, and executive vice president of Aflac, Inc. He is a Harris County commissioner, and is a member of the State Bar of Georgia. He serves both on the board of Goodwill Industries and the board of directors of the Columbus Regional Medical Foundation. He is past president of the Rotary Club of Columbus and has written a weekly column for the Harris County Journal for the last seven years. Loudermilk earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University and a law degree from the University Of Georgia School Of Law. He and his wife, Ramona, have six children and seven grandchildren.

The next meeting of the state board will be September 8th and 9th, 2010.