Here is how one casual observer sees the independent school issue failing to make it to a statewide ballot:
Step 1. SACS mouthpiece Mark Elgart keeps DeKalb County Schools on double-secret probation all of 2013, then magically changes status in 2014, just as Georgia senators and representatives meet. The headlines all over the AJC and on blogs will proudly show that DeKalb Schools is now functional and off probation. Nothing will have changed really, but the probation issue is not about fixing schools. SACS does not want a Dunwoody school system, nor do they want any new independent school districts in north Fulton County. SACS will continue to use the DeKalb probation issue as a political football, kicking us all the way.
Step 2. The good-ole Lipstick on a Pig technique. Here the DeKalb School System allows high school feeder systems to create Charter Clusters. Dunwoody High School, including all schools in Dunwoody plus Hightower, will be allowed to form a Charter Cluster. This Cluster will not have a checkbook. It will not have power to hire and fire teachers or admin staff. It will not have power to improve school bathrooms or other suffering infrastructure. What will it do? Well, perhaps it will have the Power to redraw attendance lines. Yes, we predict the Charter Cluster leaders will be given a Sharpie and a blank map, especially with a new Austin on the horizon.
The DeKalb School System will also allow other high schools feeder systems to form these distractionary "innovative" Charter Clusters. There will be lots of press releases on this issue, and planted stories in the AJC. All this will be to defuse the movement of the independent school system movement. Approval for these Charter Clusters will come just before the next General Assembly. Remember, the power brokers in DeKalb do not care about education or improved learning, or anything other than controlling the $1 Billion budget. A new school board thinks they are in charge, yet the central office still runs the show. After two New Board meetings we have a new calendar and a bunch of new cars for central office staff. What a great start.
Step 3. Get one legislator to bury this independent school issue in committee where it never sees the light of day. Not all the senators and representatives play nice in the Capitol sand box. No matter how influential a person is/ is not, it takes only one key person to stop this movement. We need our legislators out there publicly working hard for this independent school district. We don't need them to drop other Bills next year.
The focus now in Dunwoody should be on the independent school district. Everything else is taking away steam from that engine. If the Independent school issue fails, then seek alternatives.