If approved by Gov. Nathan Deal, recent legislation from the Georgia General Assembly could give Forsyth County Schools some leeway with a state testing measure.
House Bill 283 would remove the consecutive year mandate in Investing in Education Excellence, or IE2, contracts with the state.
Each school in a system with a contract, such as Forsyth, must currently meet or exceed standards for three consecutive years. If the schools don’t, then the district as a whole fails to fulfill its contract.
The proposed change would mean the schools would have to meet standards for any three of the five years in a contract.
“The reason year three was so important ... is because there aren’t any ways to get three consecutive years if you don’t make it in year three,” said Cindy Salloum, the system’s chief accountability officer and director of legal services.
According to Salloum, the system is still compiling its numbers for the third year of its contract, but preliminary results show all of its schools appear positioned to meet the contract the third year.
“Year one they all made it, but year two they didn’t all make it in math, which meant they would have had to make it in years three, four and five,” Salloum said.
As it stood, Johns Creek, Matt and Shiloh Point faced the most difficult challenge at the elementary school level, having not met the standard in the second year.
Furthermore, none of the system’s high schools met the standard in math the second year.
While all schools still need to meet the standard for at least one more year, Salloum said the system is striving to always make that mark, with or without requirements.
“We’ll still try to improve our scores, to meet and exceed,” she said. “This is not going to make us do any less work or hold our teachers and staff less accountable. Everyone wants our kids to do the very best.”
Forsyth County School Superintendent Buster Evans said he was pleased that the state legislature passed the bill.
“This was actually something that had been a discussion item ever since the original legislation was passed,” he said. “With the new language, I think it provides for a continuous incentive for a school to continue to improve in the event that they had a year where they might not have met their goals.”