Empowering Dreams for the Future

Vision 2026 | School System Flexibility Options

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Cobb Proposes Becoming IE2 District in 2015

By June 2015, state law requires all Georgia school districts to choose a framework for leading and operating schools. The Cobb County School District currently saves almost $44 million annually through state waivers no longer available after July 1, 2015, unless a contract is developed to become either a charter system or an Investing in Educational Excellence (IE2) system. The Cobb County Board of Education will take up the IE2 proposal at its Sept. 2014 meeting.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Investing in Educational Excellence ( IE2) System?

An IE2 system enters into a contract with the State Board of Education granting the district freedom from identified Title 20 provisions, State Board rules, and Georgia Department of Education guidelines. Entering into an IE2 contract affords Cobb County schools flexibility to innovate in teaching and learning in order to increase student achievement throughout the district. By pursuing an IE2 system, Cobb County will be relieved of some of the state rules and mandates that negatively impact the operations of our schools.

Why is Cobb County pursuing IE2?

Throughout the 2013-14 school year, Cobb County sought the input of parents, community members, and school staff regarding the future of education in Cobb County. More than 2,000 responses were collected through either the interactive web survey, community forums, steering committees, focus groups, or leadership meetings. Through this process it was evident that our community remains committed to advancing student learning through increasingly more innovative learning experiences while maintaining a structure of support and connectivity to the larger school system. After careful examination, the district has concluded that an IE2 partnership is the best option for meeting the community’s priorities and for ensuring that Cobb schools are the premier choice in education today and in the future.

What other options were available?

The state has outlined three options: IE2 system, charter system, or status quo system. Both the IE2 and charter system options increase the district’s access to flexibility through state waivers; however, IE2 will allow Cobb to establish performance goals tailored for each school, and customize the innovations in each school to meet and exceed those goals. The school principal, leadership team, and teachers then devote their energy and expertise to advancing student performance.

When will this take effect?

The 2015-16 school year.

What budget/financial implications will the IE2 contract have on Cobb schools?

This recommendation is revenue neutral. The IE2 contract will ensure we have access to at least $44 million in annual savings through state waivers, and although there will not be any additional funding, the IE2 contract will allow the district to use its current resources more effectively.

What is meant by system flexibility?

In exchange for increased accountability, Cobb will be relieved of some state rules in order to incorporate innovative practices. Currently, some schools have explored small scale innovations to improve students’ learning experiences. The system flexibility granted through IE2 will allow strategies proven to improve student performance to be implemented on a larger scale. Local schools will engage their teachers, parents, and community members through the strategic planning process in order to consider strategies to further advance teaching and learning.

How will school goals be set?

The district will work with the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) to establish performance areas of focus. Each school will then have individualized goals within each identified performance area.

What happens if a school does not meet its goal?

Schools will be expected to reach the student performance goals established through the IE2 contract. However, school improvement in Cobb County is monitored continuously, so before any school faces the consequences outlined in the partnership contract, the school system will provide interventions to help those schools. Through the IE2 process, the school system will craft the details that define how a school not meeting performance goals for five consecutive years will be addressed.

How will this affect my school?

IE2 should not add to what schools and teachers already are doing, but instead should generate a culture of creativity and innovation in school leadership and teaching practices. IE2 should create more opportunities to engage teachers, parents, and community members in making adjustments that will promote improved student performance.

How will this affect my child?

Regardless of the Cobb County school your child attends, you should be confident that your child’s school will be held accountable for high standards and increased student performance based on the individualized goals for that school.

Is Cobb the only school system doing this?

No. Currently Gwinnett, Forsyth, and Rabun County schools are operating through IE2 contracts, but the state is anticipating many other school systems will pursue this option in the coming months. 

Download a PDF of these Questions and Answers


Hundreds of Cobb parents, community members and employees participated in the Vision 2026 community conversations conducted in fall 2013. The forums offered Cobb citizens a chance to share constructive ideas about the future of our school system and the flexibility options available to the District. A report of results and conclusions from the Vision 2026 forums is now available. This valuable public input will be used to develop a recommendation to the Board regarding school system flexibility.

Current Cobb Kindergarten students will graduate in 2026.
How are we empowering their dreams for the future?

Beginning November 18, 2013 the Cobb County School District hosted four forums across the county to seek the input of parents and the community about the future of our school system. Click here to review the information presented during the forum introductory sessions (PDF). The District will continue to provide updates regarding flexibility options during the coming months. With your continued support and involvement, we can continue our established tradition of excellence and lead the state and the nation in student performance.

By June 30, 2015 (per OCGA §20-2-84.3) each local school system must submit written notification of the intent to operate as one of the following:

  • Investing in Educational Excellence School System (IE²)
  • Charter System
  • Status Quo School System

Other options may include:

  • System of Charter Clusters
  • System of Charter Schools
  • Strategic School System

What is an IE² system?

  • Performance-based contract between the local board, the state board of education, and Governor’s Office of Student Achievement
  • Flexibility to innovate in exchange for increased academic accountability
  • May result in loss of governance over schools that fail to meet targets

What is a Status Quo system?

  • A district that has formally rejected all flexibility options
  • No performance contract
  • No district flexibility from Title 20, state BOE rules, or Georgia DOE guidelines
  • No financial savings from waivers
  • Must comply with all federal laws and regulations
  • Must comply with ALL state laws, rules and regulations

What is a Charter system?

  • Performance-based contract between the local board and the state board of education
  • Commitment to higher performance goals in exchange for flexibility
  • Expanded culture of school-based decision-making in exchange for increased accountability

Why is Cobb interested?

  • Engage our community in a deeper, more meaningful way to help direct the future of our schools
  • Seek flexibility from state regulations
  • Increase local control as a district and for individual schools
  • Encourage innovation and creativity as stated in our Core Values
  • Above all, improve student experiences and academic performance


System Flexibility Options

What does a petition include?

An explanation of:

  • Structures that support improvement
  • Rights and responsibilities of principals, governing councils, and the local BOE with the intent to increase school level governance and involvement of parents, teachers, and community members
  • Performance measures

What will be the process?

  • Seek input from all stakeholder groups
  • Establish system-wide performance goals and flexibility parameters
  • Decision by the Board on which model to pursue; at least two hearings
  • Identify cohorts of schools, timeline for phase-in, and training plan

Timeline and Key Components for Determining Our Options

  • Establish Vision, Mission and New Strategic Plan – April 2012- October 2012
  • Training for Board of Education (BOE) – October 14, 2013
  • Training for Administrators – October 15, 2013
  • Community and Staff Forums – November 2013
  • Draft Proposal submitted to BOE for approval – April 2014
  • Letter of Intent – June 2013
  • Petition Submitted to GaDOE – prior to November 1, 2014
  • Anticipated Approval – February 2015
  • Implementation of first Cohort – August 2015