(a) It is the policy of this state that the alternative education
program shall provide a learning environment that includes the
objectives of the quality core curriculum and that the instruction
in an alternative education program shall enable students to return
to a general or career education program as quickly as possible.
Course credit shall be earned in an alternative education program in
the same manner as in other education programs. It is the policy of
this state that it is preferable to reassign disruptive students to
an alternative education program rather than suspending or expelling
such students from school.
(b) Alternative education programs are intended to meet the
education needs of a student who is suspended from his or her
regular classroom and also of a student who is eligible to remain in
his or her regular classroom but is more likely to succeed in a
nontraditional setting such as that provided in an alternative
(c) As part of the process of assigning a student to an alternative
education program for academic or nondisciplinary reasons, the
school shall assess, through policies and procedures promulgated by
the local board of education, the needs of the student and consider
options for addressing those needs.
(d) Each local school system shall provide an alternative education
(1) Is provided in a setting other than a student's regular
(2) Is located on or off of a regular school campus and may
include in-school suspension that provides continued progress on
regular classroom assignments;
(3) Provides for disruptive students who are assigned to the
alternative education program to be separated from nondisruptive
students who are assigned to the program;
(4) Focuses on English language arts, mathematics, science, social
studies, and self-discipline;
(5) Provides for students' educational and behavioral needs; and
(6) Provides supervision and counseling.
(e) An alternative education program may provide for a student's
transfer to a different campus, a school-community guidance center,
or a community-based alternative school.
(f) A local school system may provide an alternative education
program jointly with one or more other systems.
(g) Each local school system shall cooperate with government
agencies and community organizations that provide services in the
school district to students placed in an alternative education
(h) For the 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 school years, state funding of alternative education programs shall be based upon a full-time equivalent program count that equals 2.5 percent of the sum of the full-time equivalent program count of the middle grades program, the middle school program as defined in Code Section 20-2-290, the high school general education program (grades nine through 12), and the vocational laboratory program (grades nine through 12). For the 2002-2003 school year and thereafter, the amount of state funds appropriated and allocated for the alternative education program provided for in this Code section shall be based on the actual count of students served during the preceding year, except that the count of students served shall not exceed 2.5 percent of the sum of the full-time equivalent program count of the middle grades program, the middle school program as defined in Code Section 20-2-290, the high school general education program (grades nine through 12), and the vocational laboratory program (grades nine through 12). Funds earned may be expended in kindergarten and in grades one through 12.
(i) A local school system shall allocate to an alternative education
program the same expenditure for each student attending the
alternative education program, including federal, state, and local
funds, that would be allocated to the student's school if the
student were attending the student's regularly assigned education
program, including a special education program, except as otherwise
provided in this Code section.
(j) Upon the request of a local school system, a regional
educational service agency may provide to the system information on
developing an alternative education program that takes into
consideration the system's size, wealth, and existing facilities in
determining the program best suited to the system.
(k) If a student placed in an alternative education program enrolls
in another local school system before the expiration of the period
of placement, the local board of education requiring the placement
shall provide to the local school system in which the student
enrolls, at the same time other records of the student are provided,
a copy of the placement order. The local school system in which the
student enrolls may continue the alternative education program
placement under the terms of the order or may allow the student to
attend regular classes without completing the period of placement.
(l) The State Board of Education shall adopt rules necessary to
administer the provisions of this Code section. Academically, the
mission of alternative education programs shall be to enable
students to perform at grade level. Annually, the Office of
Education Accountability shall define for alternative education
programs acceptable performance and performance indicating a need
for peer review, based principally on standards defined by the
Office of Education Accountability that measure the academic
progress of students toward performing at grade level while
attending an alternative education program.