SINE DIE ANOTHER DAY: Campus Carry, State Takeover Of Failing Schools

Mar 31, 2017

Bills that would create some big changes in education in Georgia are headed to Governor Nathan Deal’s desk.

Deal has said he will definitely sign HB 338 which will allow for state takeover of schools which the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement has designated as “Chronically Failing.” It also creates a new state level executive position, the Chief Turnaround Officer. Deal said he isn’t sure just how many schools the Chief Turnaround Officer will take on right off the bat.

“Well, I think we have to start small,” Deal said in comments to GPB’s Scott Slade. The sheer number of schools fitting the “chronically failing” definition might make that hard.

"The law says the bottom five percent,” Deal said. “And of course unfortunately there are more than five or six schools in that bottom five percent.”

There are in excess of 100 schools in that bottom five percent. Most are clustered in the Atlanta Public School System, Fulton County Schools or the DeKalb County school district. The Richmond County School system, Chatham County schools and Bibb County schools also make the cut with most of the other schools scattered across the bottom two thirds of the state.

Deal said he hopes to get moving on the takeover plan as early as July. He said money has been set aside to hire the Chief Turnaround Officer which will answer to him and not Department of Education Superintendent Richard Wood.

For the second straight year, the General Assembly sent Deal a bill that would allow licensed gun holders to carry their weapons on the campuses of state run colleges and universities.

“My concerns were not appropriately addressed last year,” Deal said of the 2016 campus carry bill he vetoed. As legislators wrestled with the language of the current version, Deal said he was in wait and see mode.

“Perhaps there will be even further considerations of exemptions and areas that should be excluded if campus carry actually goes into law,” Deal said.

Deal has yet to comment on the final version of the bill.