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Subject 160-1-3 RULES OF GENERAL APPLICABILITY

Rule 160-1-3-.01 Repealed

Rule 160-1-3-.02 Suspension of Rules and Laws (Waiver)

(1) DEFINITIONS.
(a) Substantial Hardship - a significant, unique, and demonstrable economic, technological, legal, or other type of deprivation to an individual or local education agency (LEA) requesting a variance or waiver which impairs the ability of the individual to continue successfully in meeting the requirements of an educational program or of the LEA to provide educational programs and services to its students.
(b) Individual Waiver - a decision not to apply all or part of a state rule to an individual who is subject to the rule.
(c) System Waiver - a decision not to apply a state rule or law to an LEA that is subject to the state rule or law.
(d) Variance - a decision by an agency to grant a modification to all or part of the literal requirements of a state rule to an LEA or to an individual who is subject to the rule.
(2) REQUIREMENTS.
(a) The state board may defer action on a request until such time as all members have had reasonable opportunity to consider the request.
(b) For any request for waiver or variance of a state board rule or law, additional information or supporting documentation may be requested by the state school superintendent or designee prior to the waiver or variance request being submitted to the state board.
(3) TYPES OF WAIVER REQUESTS.
(a) ADMINISTRATIVE/FACILITY WAIVER REQUEST. For those situations when an application of rules can lead to substantial hardship for a local board of education, the local board of education may request a variance or waiver of a rule by submitting to the state school superintendent a local board resolution that specifies the following.
1. The rule from which the variance or waiver is requested
2. The type of action requested
3. The specific facts of substantial hardship which would justify a variance or waiver for the petitioner
4. The alternative standards which the local board seeking the variance or waiver agrees to meet and a showing that such alternative standards will afford adequate protection for the public health, safety, and welfare
5. The reason why the variance or waiver requested would serve the purpose of the underlying statute.
(b) INDIVIDUAL STUDENT WAIVER REQUEST. Any student or parent(s) or guardian acting on behalf of a student may request a waiver or variance of any rule requirement affecting the student. Requests shall be filed with the local school superintendent for transmittal to the state school superintendent.
1. The request shall specify the following.
(i) The type of action requested, whether a variance or a waiver;
(ii) The rule(s) and requirement(s) being waived or varied, including the specific provisions and wording;
(iii) The specific facts which would justify a variance or waiver for the petitioner;
(iv) What will be accomplished in lieu of the rule requirement(s);
(v) The reason why the variance or waiver requested would serve the purpose of the underlying requirement; and
(vi) Permission for department staff to receive all student records - including special education records - pertinent to the request and to discuss records with school personnel.
2. Within three weeks of receipt of such a request, the local school superintendent shall submit - along with a copy of the request from the student, parent(s), or guardian - the following records to the department.
(i) School records, including official student transcript, current schedule/status of the student, attendance records, program of study, pertinent testing data, and remediation activities
(ii) Minutes of student support team (SST) meeting(s) and action plans, if any
(iii) Individual Accommodation Plan (SST or 504, if any)
(iv) Special education records, including evaluation reports, eligibility reports, legible individualized education programs, classroom and test modifications that have been implemented
(v) A statement setting forth the superintendent's or local board's position with respect to the request, and
(vi) Any other information relevant to the request.
3. Appendix A, Contents Checklist for Student Waiver Requests, shall be completed and submitted as a cover page to the request. The checklist shall also be used for those waiver requests submitted in accordance with Rule 160-1-3-.09 Waivers of High School Graduation Assessments.
(c) INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM REQUEST. A LUA implementing an instructional program that may require a waiver of state board rule and/or requirement(s) shall submit the request in writing along with the Instructional Program Waiver RequestChecklist (Appendix B) to the state school superintendent. Such written request shall include the following information.
1. A resolution adopted by the local board of education which specifies
(i) The rule(s) from which the local board is requesting a waiver, including the specific provisions and wording that are to be waived;
(ii) What is requested in lieu of rule requirement(s);
(iii) Duration of the waiver with the beginning date noted. Waivers may be requested for up to three years.
2. A description of the proposed activity which addresses
(i) Goals and objectives of the proposed modification
(ii) Rationale for the modification and how this modification fits into the school or system's overall improvement plan(s)
(iii) Predicted impact of the activity on students, teachers, and the school community. Include the number of students impacted
(iv) Staff development activities for teachers (if applicable)
(v) Evaluation plan with the following components
(I) The specific question(s) to be answered by the evaluation. These questions shall reflect the stated goals/objectives of the waiver.
(II) Data to be collected in response to each question. These may include improved test scores, lower dropout and/or retention rates, increased parent participation, etc.
(III) The method(s) of data collection, including a description or copies of instruments to be used (unless these are nationally/state validated tests or other instruments readily available to the waiver review staff).
(IV) Data describing current conditions that the waiver is expected to change. For example, current test scores, dropout and/or retention rates or present parent participation.
(V) Criteria for determining the success of the waiver implementation. That is, how much improvement or change is expected in order to consider the activity a success by the end of the waiver period?
(VI) An evaluation time line, including the submission of annual reports to the department.
3. To continue a program under waivers, the local board of education shall submit by local board resolution a request for renewal to the state school superintendent.
(i) The resolution shall include the rule and specific provisions that are to be waived and the duration of the waiver request.
(ii) Evaluation data shall reflect the achievement toward the program's goals and objectives from the beginning of the program's implementation.
(d) WAIVERS TO IMPROVE STUDENT PERFORMANCE. Local school systems may apply to the State Board of Education for system waivers of specifically identified state law, rules, regulations, policies, and procedures upon the request of a local school board and in accordance with O.G.C.A. § 20-2-244.
1. The goal for each system waiver shall be the improvement of student performance.
2. The State Board of Education shall not waive any federal, state, and local rules, regulations, court orders, and statutes relating to civil rights; insurance; the protection of the physical health and safety of school students, employees, and visitors; conflicting interest transactions; the prevention of unlawful conduct; any laws relating to unlawful conduct in or near a public school; or any reporting requirements pursuant to O.G.C.A. § 20-2-320 of Chapter 14 of Title 20.
3. A local school system that has received a system waiver shall remain subject to the provisions of Part 3 of Article 2 of Chapter 14 of Title 20, the requirement that it shall not charge tuition or fees to its students except as may be authorized for local boards by O.G.C.A. § 20-2-133, and shall remain open to enrollment in the same manner as before the waiver request.
4. The provisions of this Code section shall not apply to charter schools.
5. The State Board of Education shall require the submission of a written application for a waiver that shall include, at a minimum:
(a) Identification of the specific state law, rules, regulations, policies, and procedures, or provisions of this chapter that the LEA is requesting to waive;
(b) A description of the policies and procedures the school or school system shall substitute for the waived state law, rules, regulations, policies, and procedures, or provisions;
(c) A description of how the proposed system waiver will improve student performance;
(d) A description of the students who will be affected by the proposed system waiver, including their estimated number, current performance, grade level, and any common demographic traits;
(e) A list of schools by name that will be affected by the proposed system waiver, and a description of each school, including current performance, grade levels, and demographic traits of the students of each such school;
(f) Methods for collection of data, and for measuring and evaluating any change in student performance resulting from the proposed system waiver;
(g) The period of time for which the proposed system waiver is requested and the proposed starting date; and
(h) A resolution from the local school board approving the system waiver request.
6. The State Board of Education may grant or deny a system waiver request, or grant a system waiver request subject to specified modifications in the waiver request.
7. A system waiver may be granted in accordance with this section for any period of time not to exceed five years. The State Board of Education shall require reports from local school systems receiving system waivers under this section regarding the effect of the system waiver at least annually, and may require more frequent reports if necessary to monitor the effect of the system waiver.
8. The State Board of Education may repeal a system waiver at any time if a system is not meeting the student achievement goals associated with the student achievement waiver.
9. The State Board of Education shall report annually to the General Assembly regarding the system waivers granted, the effect of each waiver, and any recommendations for legislative changes generated by successful waivers.
(e) WAIVERS OF CLASS SIZE REQUIREMENTS. In accordance with the provisions set forth in O.C.G.A. § 20-2-182, after the first FTE count of a school year, local school systems may apply to the State Board of Education for a system waiver to 160-5-1-.08 Class Size by submitting a written application for a waiver that shall include, at a minimum:
1. A description of the students who will be affected by the proposed waiver, including school names, grade level and/or courses, and estimated number of students;
2. The maximum individual class size for K-8 regular education courses, or maximum system average for grades 9-12 regular education courses;
3. Documentation of the facts precipitating the need for the waiver request.
4. The specific larger number being requested;
(i) The State Board of Education may approve the request only in the limited circumstances where educationally justified and where an act of God or other unforeseen event led to the precipitous rise in enrollment within that system, or led to another occurrence which resulted in the local board's inability to comply with the maximum class size requirement.

Appendix A:

CONTENTS CHECKLIST FOR STUDENT WAIVER

REQUESTS

STUDENT: _______________________________________

SCHOOL: _____________________ SYSTEM: _____________________

Please check the following items that are included in the packet of information.

_____ Student Identification, including name, address, date of birth, parents' names

_____ Superintendent's Recommendation

_____ Petitioner's request

_____ rule/requirement being waived

_____ justification/rationale

_____ offered in lieu of requirement

_____ how waiver will serve purpose of requirement

_____ permission for staff to review and discuss records

_____ School Records

_____ official student transcript

_____ current schedule/status

_____ program of study

_____ attendance records

_____ Individual Score Reports on all GHSGT

_____ Student Support Records

_____ Accommodations in general curriculum (if any)

_____ Individual Accommodation Plan (SST or 504)

_____ Special Education Records (if applicable)

_____ evaluation reports (including language/speech, assistive technology, etc., as appropriate)

_____ eligibility reports

_____ individual education plans (last 3 years including current and transition plan)

_____ classroom modifications

_____ test modifications

_____ Remediation activities

_____ offered by school

_____ participation by student

Appendix B

INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM WAIVER REQUEST

CHECKLIST

SCHOOL SYSTEM: ___________________________________________

SCHOOL (IF APPROPRIATE): _________________________________

CONTACT PERSON: __________________________________________

TELEPHONE: ____________________FAX: _______________________

E-MAIL ADDRESS: ___________________________________________

Please check the following items that are included in the packet of information.

_____ Resolution of Local Board of Education

_____ rule/requirement being waived

_____ offered in lieu of requirement

_____ duration of waiver

_____ Description of Proposed Activity

_____ goals and objectives

_____ rationale for modification

_____ impact on students, teachers, and school community

_____ staff development

_____ evaluation plan

_____ questions to be answered

_____ data to be collected

_____ method(s) of data collection

_____ data describing current conditions

_____ criteria for determining success

_____ evaluation timeline

_______________________________ ______________________________

Contact Person's Signature Superintendent's Signature

_______________________________ _____________________________

Date

Appendix (160-1-3) A

CONTENTS CHECKLIST FOR STUDENT WAIVER

REQUESTS

STUDENT: _______________________________________

SCHOOL: _____________________ SYSTEM: _____________________

Please check the following items that are included in the packet of information.

_____ Student Identification, including name, address, date of birth, parents' names

_____ Superintendent's Recommendation

_____ Petitioner's request

_____ rule/requirement being waived

_____ justification/rationale

_____ offered in lieu of requirement

_____ how waiver will serve purpose of requirement

_____ permission for staff to review and discuss records

_____ School Records

_____ official student transcript

_____ current schedule/status

_____ program of study

_____ attendance records

_____ Individual Score Reports on all GHSGT

_____ Student Support Records

_____ Accommodations in general curriculum (if any)

_____ Individual Accommodation Plan (SST or 504)

_____ Special Education Records (if applicable)

_____ evaluation reports (including language/speech, assistive technology, etc., as appropriate)

_____ eligibility reports

_____ individual education plans (last 3 years including current and transition plan)

_____ classroom modifications

_____ test modifications

_____ Remediation activities

_____ offered by school

_____ participation by student

Appendix (160-1-3) B

INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM WAIVER REQUEST

CHECKLIST

SCHOOL SYSTEM: ___________________________________________

SCHOOL (IF APPROPRIATE): _________________________________

CONTACT PERSON: __________________________________________

TELEPHONE: ____________________FAX: _______________________

E-MAIL ADDRESS: ___________________________________________

Please check the following items that are included in the packet of information.

_____ Resolution of Local Board of Education

_____ rule/requirement being waived

_____ offered in lieu of requirement

_____ duration of waiver

_____ Description of Proposed Activity

_____ goals and objectives

_____ rationale for modification

_____ impact on students, teachers, and school community

_____ staff development

_____ evaluation plan

_____ questions to be answered

_____ data to be collected

_____ method(s) of data collection

_____ data describing current conditions

_____ criteria for determining success

_____ evaluation timeline

_______________________________ ______________________________

Contact Person's Signature Superintendent's Signature

_______________________________ _____________________________

Date

Rule 160-1-3-.03 Infectious Diseases

(1) Definitions.
(a) Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - a major operating component of the United States Department of Health and Human Services with responsibilities at the national level for monitoring health, detecting and investigating health problems.
(b) Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)-Federal legislation applicable to all educational institutions receiving Federal Funds that protects the privacy of students' personally identifiable information
(c) Infectious Disease-an illness due to an infectious agent, or its toxic products, which is transmitted directly or indirectly to a person from an infected person or animal.
(d) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)-any type of face mask, glove, or clothing that acts as a barrier between infectious materials and the skin, mouth, nose, or eyes.
(e) Local Education Agency (LEA) - a local school system pursuant to local board of education control and management.
(f) Standard Precautions-a set of precautions designed to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases which include, but not limited to, hand washing procedures, use of protective gloves, and directives on covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
(g) Tasks With Exposure Potential- tasks associated with the evaluation and treatment of students with actual or potential infections.
(2) Requirements.
(a) LEAs shall develop polices, regulations, and procedures related to the impact of infectious diseases on school system management and operations.
(b) LEAs shall annually provide employees with information, education, or training related to infectious diseases, including transmission, risk education, and standard precautions, based on CDC guidelines or recommendations.
(c) LEAs shall make personal protective equipment (PPE) readily available and appropriate to tasks with exposure potential.
(d) Where LEAs have reasonable suspicion to believe that an employee or student has an infectious disease, school authorities shall counsel that person immediately, or if the person is a minor, notify his or her parent or guardian of the need to obtain an appropriate medical evaluation.
(e) Operational decisions related to employees or students infected with communicable diseases shall be made in conjunction with the school nurse, state and/or local public health agency representatives, health care professionals, and school system administrators.
(f) Each LEA shall limit the disclosure of health-related information of its employees and students. FERPA prohibits the unauthorized disclosure of information from educational records except in certain limited circumstances, such as a health and safety emergency as described in 34 C.F.R. §§ 99.31(a) (10) and 99.36. Additionally, the disclosure of certain confidential health information may be a misdemeanor punishable under O.C.G.A. § 24-9-47.

Rule 160-1-3-.04 School Law Tribunals and Appeals

(1) Purpose. The purpose of this rule is to specify the procedures for appeals from local boards of education (LBOE) to the State Board of Education on issues respecting the administration or construction of school law.
(2) Role of the Vice Chairperson.
(a) The vice chairperson for appeals of the state board or a hearing officer contracted with or employed by the state board shall con- duct a review of appeals to the state board and shall acquaint state board members with the matters to be considered.
(b) The vice chairperson for appeals or the hearing officer shall draft the ruling of the state board.
(3) Procedures Before the Local Board of Education.
(a) LBOEs shall hold hearings when required by law. The LBOE shall adopt, except as otherwise provided for by law, the following hearing procedures:
1. The LBOE shall notify the parties of the time and place of the hearing.
2. The LBOE shall sign and issue subpoenas.
3. All witnesses shall testify under oath and shall be subject to cross-examination.
4. The LBOE shall require the testimony and other evidence to be transcribed by a court reporter or recorded by other appropriate means.
5. The strict rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law shall not be applicable to hearings before LBOEs.
6. At the conclusion of the hearing, or within 15 days thereafter, the LBOE shall notify the parties of its decision in writing and shall notify the parties of their right to appeal the decision to the State Board of Education.
(4) Appeals to the State Board of Education.
(a) After a hearing by the LBOE when held in accordance with state law and/or state board policies, regulations or rules, any party aggrieved by a decision of the LBOE rendered on an issue respecting the administration or construction of school law may appeal to the state board by filing the appeal in writing with the local school superintendent. The appeal shall set forth:
1. The question in dispute;
2. The decision of the local board; and
3. A concise statement of the reasons why the decision is being appealed.
(b) The party making the appeal shall file with the appeal the complete record, including a transcript of testimony certified as true and correct by the local school superintendent or a request that the superintendent transcribe and prepare such transcript. The party making the appeal shall assume the costs of such preparation.
(c) When any party is unable to pay the cost of a transcript of the hearing because of indigence, the party shall be relieved from paying the cost if said party provides to the local school superintendent an affidavit to that effect. The party's rights shall be the same as those had the party paid the cost of the transcript. Upon receipt of an affidavit, the local school superintendent may inquire into the ability of the applicant to pay the cost of the transcript. After a hearing, the local school superintendent may order the party to pay the cost of the transcript by a certain date. Such decision of the local school superintendent may be appealed by the party to the State Board of Education in the same manner as other issues. If a party appeals the order of the local board to pay the cost, the local school superintendent shall submit to the State Board of Education a transcript of the hearing on indigence that is certified by the local school superintendent. If no appeal of the issue of indigence is filed and the cost is not paid as ordered by the LBOE, or if an appeal is filed and the State Board of Education affirms the local board decision, the appeal shall not be docketed.
(d) The appeal to the State Board of Education shall be filed with the local school superintendent within 30 days of the decision in question.
(e) Transmission to the State School Superintendent. The local superintendent shall within 10 days after the filing of the appeal, transmit to the state school superintendent a copy of the appeal, together with the transcript of evidence and proceedings, the decision of the local board and other matters in the file relating to the appeal. All materials should be certified as true and correct. The appeal may be amended and a transcript filed any time prior to transmission to the state board.
(f) Notice. After a determination by the state school superintendent or designee that the appeal is in proper form for hearing, the appeal shall be docketed and placed on the calendar for review before the hearing officer of the state board at the earliest practical time.
(g) The party requesting the appeal shall file a brief with the state board discussing the party's position within 20 days of the date of docketing. The opposing party shall have 40 days from the date of docketing to file a brief.
(h) Oral arguments shall not be heard unless requested by a party or requested by the hearing officer. Oral arguments must be requested by a party within 10 days of the date the appeal is docketed.
(i) Procedure at Oral Argument. If oral argument is ordered or granted, the appellant may be represented by counsel. The argument shall be confined to the issues in the record and the evidence transmitted from previous proceedings. No new evidence shall be received. The state board shall not consider any question not specifically raised in the written appeal or the statement of contentions.
(j) Decision of State Board. The state board shall render its decision in a written order within 25 days after it hears the case and shall notify the parties in writing of its decision and of their right to appeal the decision to the Superior Court of the county wherein the LBOE is located.
(k) Dismissal of Appeal. Failure to comply with any of the provisions herein may be grounds for dismissal.
(l) No Supersedeas. No appeal shall act as a stay of a local board's order unless so ordered by the local board or by the vice chairperson for appeals of the state board.
(5) Severability. The provisions of this rule are hereby declared to be severable, and the invalidation of any part hereof shall not affect or invalidate any other part.

Rule 160-1-3-.05 Assessment of Costs

(1) DEFINITIONS.
(a) Documents - anypapers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, computer based or generated information, data, data fields, or similar material prepared and maintained or received by the Georgia Department of Education or the State Board of Education.
(2) REQUIREMENTS.
(a) A party requesting that the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) transmit the records of an administrative proceeding to a federal district court or state court shall be charged a copying fee of $.25 per page and shall be charged for the actual mailing costs to transmit the record to the appropriate court. The requesting party shall remit the total fee to GaDOE within 30 days after receipt of an invoice. The requesting party may be asked to provide the filing fee for the appropriate court to be transmitted along with the record.
(b) A party requesting copies of documents pursuant to the Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. § 50-18-70) shall be charged a copying fee of $.10 per page for letter or legal size documents or, in the case of non-letter or legal size documents, the actual cost of producing the copy. In the case of electronic records, GaDOE may charge the actual cost of the media on which the documents are produced. The party making the request shall remit the total fee to GaDOE within 30 days after receipt of an invoice.
(c) GaDOE may charge for the search, retrieval, redaction, and production costs for the production of documents pursuant to the Open Records Act. The charge for search, retrieval, or redaction of records shall not exceed the prorated hourly salary of the lowest paid full-time employee who, at the discretion of GaDOE, has the necessary skill and training to perform the request.
(d) In any instance in which the estimated costs for the production of documents exceeds $500.00, GaDOE shall insist on prepayment of the costs prior to beginning the search, retrieval, review, redaction, production, or copying of the documents.
(e) In lieu of providing separate printouts or copies of records or data, GaDOE may provide access to documents through its website. If a person or entity specifically requests data fields in the format in which they are kept, GaDOE shall provide the data in the format requested provided the person or entity agrees to be responsible for any administrative costs associated with the request.
(f) Whenever any person or entity has requested documents and does not pay the administrative cost lawfully estimated and agreed upon, GaDOE shall be authorized to collect such charges in any manner authorized by law. Further, whenever any person or entity has requested to inspect or copy documents and has not paid the administrative cost lawfully incurred, GaDOE shall require prepayment for compliance with all future requests for documents until the costs for the prior production of documents have been paid or the dispute regarding payment is resolved.

Rule 160-1-3-.06 Petition for Acting on an Agency Rule or State Law

(1) Purpose. Any interested person may petition the State Board of Education to promulgate, amend, or repeal a rule. Any interested person may also petition the Georgia Department of Education for a declaratory ruling of the applicability of any provisions of state law or a rule adopted by the State Board of Education. This rule describes the procedures that shall be followed.
(2) Requirements.
(a) A Petition Requesting the Promulgation, Amendment or Repeal of a Rule.
1. The petitioner shall submit to the state school superintendent the written request, stating the specific action the petitioner wishes the state board to take, i.e., the promulgation, amendment or repeal of a rule. The state school superintendent or designee shall docket the request and forward it to the appropriate office for a recommendation to the state school superintendent and the State Board of Education.
2. The State Board of Education shall consider the petitioner's request at the next scheduled meeting.
3. The state school superintendent shall notify the petitioner of the action(s) taken by the state board within 30 days after the meeting where the request was considered.
(b) A Petition Requesting a Declaratory Statement of Applicability of a Statutory Provision or State Board-Adopted Rule.
1. The petitioner shall submit to the state school superintendent a written request for an interpretation of the applicability of a statutory provision and/or a state board-adopted rule. The state school superintendent or designee shall, within 30 days of receiving the request, respond in writing to the petitioner.
2. In accordance with state law, the department may seek an opinion from the Attorney General. If this action is deemed necessary by the state superintendent or deputy superintendent, the petitioner shall be notified in writing that the department has requested an opinion from the Attorney General. Within 30 days of receiving the opinion of the Attorney General, the state school superintendent shall notify the petitioner of the applicability of a statutory provision and/or a state-board adopted rule.

Rule 160-1-3-.07 Consolidated Hearings Under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504

(1) Requirements.
(a) A local board of education (LBOE) may request that a hearing officer, appointed by the department in an IDEA due process hearing under Rule 160-4-7-.05 Procedural Safeguards/Parent Rights, serve as the hearing officer in a hearing requested under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and consider matters under IDEA and Section 504 at the same hearing.
(b) If the hearing officer conducts a consolidated hearing under both IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as provided in paragraph (a), the costs attributable to the Section 504 hearing shall be borne by the LBOE. The hearing officer shall apportion the costs on a pro rata basis.
(c) A party seeking review of a decision in a hearing under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 shall file a notice of appeal to the Georgia Board of Education with the local school superintendent. Rule 160-1-3-.04 School Law Tribunals and Appeals shall otherwise apply with respect to the appeal.

Rule 160-1-3-.08 Repealed

Rule 160-1-3-.09 Repealed