by Georgia Charter Schools Association
By Nina Rubin
The vision to launch a charter school can come from many places — dissatisfaction with current public school offerings, a yearning to put a particular pedagogy into action, a desire to serve an overlooked student population, and many more.
However, the charter school “contract” is not simply about education. In order to be entrusted with public dollars to launch a school, charter petitioners must demonstrate a plan that is equally about an educational program that will boost student achievement, and an operational plan that is professional, transparent, accountable, and sustainable.
That takes a lot more than the vision of a gifted educator. It literally takes the skills of a village.
So while it’s true that charter petitions and charter founding boards often coalesce around an educational visionary, make no mistake — charter schools cannot survive without the time and talents of good community folks. Right now, Georgia’s charter schools are in tremendous need of accountants, business owners, nonprofit managers, lawyers, marketers, fundraisers, public relations professionals, and solid citizens of all trades to join their governing boards.
To meet the demand, the Georgia Charter Schools Association has launched a Board Bank Initiative that has now trained more than 40 citizens to serve founding charter school boards and operational charter school boards. The Board Bank matches citizens with a heart for service and a passion for education with charter school boards that need their skills.
An intensive three-hour class is the starting point for those who think they’d like to serve on a charter school board. The class offers an overview of how charter schools operate and how they are governed. It also provides clarity on a board member’s role and the critical mindset of stewardship and oversight.
It’s an uncomfortable but well-documented truth that more charter schools fail because of poor governance or poor financial management than for academic reasons. That truth was the driver of HB 405, a bill passed last year by the Georgia General Assembly. The bill requires members of governing boards to participate in at least six hours of mandatory individual or whole board governance training to ensure the effective governance. It’s a terrific law.
To uphold the privilege of being able to launch independent charter schools that outperform traditional district schools, all charter schools have to work smarter, harder, and with fewer resources. The passion and the skills of great community board members are vital their success.
What’s your talent? What’s your passion? Why not step up and serve one of Georgia’s public charter school boards. GCSA’s next Board Bank training will be on Saturday, November 15, 2014, from 9:00 am to noon. Contact Elisa Falco, 404-837-2973 to learn more about the training, and please complete this short survey below if you are interested in enrolling. Link to survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HKGC83P
Nina Rubin is the Director of Communications for the Georgia Charter Schools Association.
The views and opinions expressed on CharterConfidential are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency