LOCAL SCHOOL COUNCIL
The local school council concept is an initiative of the A+ Educational Reform Act of 2000 (HB1187).
Georgia law requires every school system to have a school council operational in all elementary, middle and high schools. The primary goal of local school councils is to bring communities and schools closer together to make recommendations to solve education problems, to improve academic achievement, to provide support for teachers and administrators, and to bring parents into the schoolbased decision-making process.
Local school councils meet at least four times per year, and all meetings are open to the public.
Why is there a Local School Council?
By law, each elementary school is required to have a local school council. The objectives are to:
- Bring communities and schools closer together in a spirit of cooperation to solve educational challenges
- Improve academic achievement
- Provide support for teachers and administrators
- Bring parents into the school decision making process
How the School Council can help.
The council can advise and make recommendations on any matter related to school improvement and student achievement. Areas for discussion can be brought to a school council member for presentation in an upcoming council meeting. The council can review the issue and if appropriate, help raise visibility to the administration of the school and broader Atlanta Public School leadership.
The school council also identifies and works on an agenda of action items relevant to the school. Examples include School Honor Roll and Georgia Tech tutors.
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What are the roles of the council members?
All members of the School Council must:
- Maintain a school-wide perspective on issues,
- Regularly participate in council meetings,
- Participate in information and training programs,
- Act as a link between the school council and the community,
- Encourage the participation of parents and others within the school community, and
- Work to improve student achievement and performance.
The councils shall provide advice and recommendations to the school principal and, where appropriate, the local board of education and local school superintendent on any matter related to student achievement and school improvement, including, but not limited to, the following:
- School board policies;
- School improvement plans;
- Curriculum and assessments;
- Report cards issued or audits of the school conducted by the Office of Student Achievement;
- Development of a school profile which shall contain data as identified by the council to describe the academic performance, academic progress, services, awards, interventions, environment, and other such data as the council deems appropriate;
- School budget priorities, including school capital improvement plans;
- School-community communication strategies;
- Methods of involving parents and the community;
- Extracurricular activities in the school;
- School-based and community services;
- Community use of school facilities;
- Student discipline and attendance;
- Reports from the school principal regarding progress toward the school’s student achievement goals, including progress within specific grade levels and subject areas and by school personnel; and
- The method and specifications for the delivery of early intervention services or other appropriate services for underachieving students.
How do School Councils Conduct Business?
- All meetings are open to the public.
- School councils must meet four or more times a year as stated in their bylaws.
- A quorum, which is a majority of the members, must be present at the meeting.
- The council may appoint committees, study groups, and task forces.
- Meetings are subject to the Open Meetings Act.
- Records are subject to the Open Records Act.
What is the Role of the Local Board of Education with School Councils?
The local board of education shall:
- Provide all information not specifically made confidential by law, including but not limited to, school site budget and expenditure information and class sizes by grade.
- Designate an employee of the school system to attend council meetings when requested.
- Receive and review the school council’s annual report.
- The central administration shall respond to requests for information from a school council.
The local board of education shall receive and consider all recommendations of the school council, including the annual report, as follows:
- Public notice shall be given to the community of the local board’s intent to consider school council reports or recommendations;
- Written notice shall be given to the members of the school council at least seven days prior to such local board meeting, along with a notice of intent to consider a school council report or recommendation;
- The members of the school council shall be afforded an opportunity to present information in support of the school council’s report or recommendation; and
- The local board of education shall respond to each recommendation of the school council within 60 calendar days after being notified in writing of the recommendation