The A+ Reform Law required that every school in Georgia have operational school councils by October 1, 2003. All Chatham County Schools organized school councils at the start of the 2001–2002 school year.
School councils bring communities and schools closer together in a spirit of cooperation to solve education problems, to improve academic achievement, to provide support for teachers and administrators, and to bring parents into the decision making process. School-based decision making is designed to increase the involvement of teachers, parents, and the community in the important decisions about how the school operates and performs.
Each council must have a minimum of seven members: four parents/guardians, two certified teachers, and the principal. Parents/guardians must hold a majority on the school council and a parent/guardian must serve as chairperson (Official Code of Georgia Annotated [OCGA] § 20-2-86[d]). School council members have been trained to organize meetings and develop school council bylaws, understand advisory status and authority, recognize legal issues such as open meetings and open records laws and confidentiality, make recommendations to increase student achievement, and to create a school improvement plan. Councils provide an opportunity for local school decisions by representing the interests of that school council to the principal, who in turn conveys the information to the area assistant superintendents, Superintendent, and if necessary the Board of Education.
The role of the school council in the principal selection process shall be advisory and specified in policy written by the local board of education and regulations developed by the superintendent (OCGA § 20-2-86[t] and Board of Education policy BBFA).