Georgia - Community Involvement in Local Governance: Stakeholders
2017 Georgia Code 20-2-85. Legislative findings; role of local boards of education and school councils
(a) The General Assembly recognizes the need to improve communication and participation of parents and the community in the management and operation of local schools. The General Assembly believes that parent and community support is critical to the success of students and schools. The intent of this article is to bring communities and schools closer together in a spirit of cooperation to solve difficult education problems, improve academic achievement, provide support for teachers and administrators, and bring parents into the school-based decision-making process. The establishment of school councils is intended to help local boards of education develop and nurture participation, bring parents and the community together with teachers and school administrators to create a better understanding of and mutual respect for each other's concerns, and share ideas for school improvement. School councils shall be reflective of the school community.
(b) The management and control of public schools shall be the responsibility of local boards of education, and the school leader shall be the principal. School councils shall provide advice, recommendations, and assistance and represent the community of parents and businesses. Each member of the council, as a community representative, shall be accorded the respect and attention deserving of such election.
2017 Georgia Code 20-2-86. Operation of school councils; training programs; membership; management; roles and responsibilities
(a) By October 1, 2001, each local board of education that elects to participate in the Quality Basic Education Program provided for in Article 6 of this chapter shall have a school council operational at a minimum of one high school, one middle school, and one elementary school, except that if a school system does not have its schools organized in this manner the system shall designate schools for a school council as closely to the intent of this Code section as possible. By October 1, 2002, each local board of education shall have a school council operational in a minimum of 50 percent of the schools under its jurisdiction. Such school council shall operate pursuant to this Code section, and the local board of education shall assist all councils in their creation and operation. After two years of successful operation, and upon receiving a high performance designation by the Office of Student Achievement, the local board of education shall devolve to the school council such additional authority in matters of school operation as the local board deems appropriate. By October 1, 2003, each local board of education shall have a school council operational in each of the schools under its jurisdiction. Local boards of education may by board policy allow an alternative to a school council at a charter school, an alternative school, or a psychoeducation center if another governance body or advisory council exists that performs a comparable function.
(b) The local board of education shall provide a training program to assist schools in forming a school council and to assist school councilmembers in the performance of their duties. Such program shall address the organization of councils, their purpose and responsibilities, applicable laws, rules, regulations and meeting procedures, and important state and local school system program requirements and shall provide a model school council organization plan. Additional training programs shall be offered to school councilmembers annually. The State Board of Education shall develop and make available a model school council training program.
(c) Any member may withdraw from the council by delivering to the council a written resignation and submitting a copy to the secretary of the council or school principal. Should school councilmembers determine that a member of the council is no longer active in the council as defined by the bylaws of the council, the council may, by a majority vote, withdraw such person's membership status, effective as of a date determined by the council.
(d) The property and business of the council shall be managed by a minimum of seven school councilmembers of whom a majority shall constitute a quorum. The number of councilmembers shall be specified in the council's bylaws. Members of the school council shall include:
- (1) A number of parents or guardians of students enrolled in the school, excluding employees who are parents or guardians of such students, so that such parents or guardians make up a majority of the council and at least two of whom shall be businesspersons;
- (2) At least two certificated teachers, excluding any personnel employed in administrative positions, who are employed at least four of the six school segments at the school;
- (3) The school principal; and
- (4) Other members as specified in the council's bylaws, such as, but not limited to, students, staff, and representatives of school related organizations. Other businesspersons from the local business community may serve on the council and shall be selected by the other members of the school council. Selection procedures for these members and the business members shall be specified in the council's bylaws.
- An employee of the local school system may serve as a parent representative on the council of a school in which his or her child is enrolled if such employee works at a different school. With the exception of the principal and the business representatives, members shall be elected by, and from among, the group they represent.