Sen. Holtzclaw, Others File Bill To Give Schools More ‘Local Control’

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Press release issued by Sen. Bill Holtzclaw:

MADISON, Ala. – A north Alabama lawmaker Thursday pre-filed legislation for the 2013 legislative session that would give local schools the latitude to make decisions that will improve student achievement and student outcomes.

Senate Bill 54, the Local Control School Flexibility Act, sponsored by Senator Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison), provides Alabama’s 134 public school systems with the freedom to address their respective issues at the local level. The legislation is also cosponsored by Senator Trip Pittman (R-Montrose), Chairman of the Senate Education Budget Committee, Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), Chairman of the Senate General Fund Budget Committee, Senator Dick Brewbaker (R-Montgomery), Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, and Senator Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa), Senate Education Committee member.

“Of utmost importance to me is the fact that we should not use a one-size-fits-all concept for education,” Holtzclaw said. “Every community knows what is best for their students and the flexibility provided by this legislation encourages innovation, tailored to the uniqueness of each community, and will improve academic outcomes and maximize use of available resources in each system.”

Alabama’s public schools currently have the option to seek a waiver from regulations and policies put into place by the State Board of Education and the State Department of Education. Holtzclaw’s proposal expands the current program by giving school systems the chance to seek a waiver from any state statute.

The legislation labels any school or system that has been granted such a waiver as an “innovative” school or system. The “innovative” school or system would then work with the State Board of Education as well as the State Superintendent to jointly create a flexibility contract, which would outline the state statute, regulation or policy from which the school is seeking relief in order to operate in a more flexible, innovative way.

This means, for instance, that the proposal could provide school systems with more freedom to hire and assign personnel, partner with business and industry professionals, or bring retired teachers back to the classroom.