Lieutenant Governor Cagle Announces Charter Systems Act and Career Academies Initiatives

January 23, 2007

(Atlanta, GA) – During stops at Tech High in Atlanta, CentralEducationalCenter in Newnan and InternationalStudiesMagnetElementary School in Albany, Lieutenant Governor Cagle announced his initiatives to promote charter systems and career academies in Georgia.

"All children do not learn in the same way or at the same speed.  I believe the best education happens when we allow local control and when we untie the hands of our teachers so they can better meet the needs of each individual student.

"Charter Systems offer the truest form of local control of public education. In place of schools that are hampered by numerous state mandates, charter schools advance innovation, flexibility and resourceful teaching.

"Career Academies provide a valuable partnership between our schools, technical colleges and surrounding businesses. Our goal to open five new Career Academies will have a significant impact on our future workforce development and will give students the training they need to obtain well-paying and secure jobs," Cagle said.

Cagle announced his plans to promote Charter Systems by funding competitive Charter Systems Implementation Grants of up to $125,000 for planning and incentive cost for school systems that desire to become Charter Systems. Additionally, Cagle announced $1 million in funding for the creation of five new Career Academies, schools where academic courses are accompanied with technical training.

Specifically the Charter Systems Act would:

  • Allow the state Board of Education to extend the procedures for Charter Schools to entire school systems.
  • Establish a 9 member Charter Advisory Committee to assist with the development of charter policy, review charter petitions to ensure compliance, and to provide recommendations to the Board of Education for approval or denial of a charter petition.
  • The members of the committee will not be paid for their work, but will receive reimbursement for expenses. The members of the committee are chosen as follows: 3 State Board of Education Members chosen by the chairperson of the board; 3 members appointed by the Lt. Governor; 3 members appointed by the Speaker of the House.
  • Charter Systems will be free of all state mandates and many federal mandates-they will not be exempt from federal No Child Left Behind laws or non-discrimination mandates.

The Technical Career Academies Act would:

  • Address barriers of initial construction costs and staff funding costs, thus providing the framework for jumpstarting the establishment of career academies throughout Georgia.
  • Call upon the Department of Technical and Adult Education and the Technical College System of Georgia to facilitate the establishment of new technical career academies in Georgia.
  • DTAE would:
    • Develop a process to enable partnerships consisting of local school system and a technical college to submit proposals to establish technical career academies.
    • Based upon criteria looking at need, local commitment, and success potential, select up to five proposals a year for funding and technical support.
    • Funding of $1million annually in operating funds and $15 million dollars in revolving bond funds would enable each selected partnership to receive $200,000 for initial staffing costs and $3 million in construction/renovation funds to be matched by the local partnership.
  • Local school system-technical college partnerships would:
    • Develop a proposal documenting the need and plan for success of the academy.
    • Develop a joint agreement regarding the joint administration and operation of the academy.
    • Document approval of the academy as a charter school by the local school board for application to the State Board of Education.
    • Document the source(s) and amount(s) of the necessary construction/renovation matching funds.