The Effingham County Board of Education has chosen the IE2 model for its system of governance, following a unanimous vote at its May 6 meeting.
The IE2 — short for Investing in Educational Excellence — was one of three options for board members. They also could have chosen to become a charter system or a status quo system. Effingham school board members had until June 30 to make their choice known to the state.
“The governance structure is most like what we have in place,” Superintendent Randy Shearouse said of IE 2. “We did look at the charter system option more closely than status quo. The Effingham College and Career Academy is a charter school that has had tremendous success with a governance board made up of parents, business leaders, and school employees. Status quo was not an option because it does not allow for any waivers.”
Shearouse said the school district and the individual schools will write improvement plans similar to what is written currently and focused on each year.
“The major difference will be the ability to request waivers, which ultimately brings about more local control,” he said.
Under IE2, a local system can request waivers for class sizes and also on how money from the state can be spent. The IE2, by design, gives local boards more control. The waivers from Title 20 regulations could give a school system more flexibility. Having chosen IE2, the Effingham County School System will have goals set by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, though the system already has accountability measures in place.
School board members also approved requesting class size waivers from the state. In its resolution asking for the class size waivers, the school system is requesting to expand class sizes from kindergarten to 12th grade classes from one to seven students; by one to two students in English language learners classes; by one to 11 students in gifted; by one to seven students each in early intervention program, remedial education program and alternative education program; by one to nine students in vocational education; and by up to six students in special education.
“We have asked for the waiver for the last several years,” Shearouse said. “You only use it when you have to. We do have a high growth rate in certain schools and in the county.”
Going to an IE2 model, explained assistant superintendent Gregg Arnsdorff, allows the board to ask for these kinds of waivers.
“You’re asking for permission to execute your own class sizes,” he said. “This allows you to remain with the limits you’ve been living under the last several years since the economic downturn.” Once you get that in, only under that condition will they even look at these requests.”
Arnsdorff added that kindergarten registrations remain down a little bit.
“That still remains fluid,” he said.