The Richmond County Board of Education discussed giving administrators a three-year term to show improvement at their schools Tuesday, with one board member suggesting demotion for those who could not meet the deadline.
Board member Barbara Pulliam said such a deadline was necessary to make sure administrators continue to push for improvement at their school, even if it’s “just one point on an exam.”
“If you assume an administrator role, you should always be pushing forward and not letting the students under you flounder,” she said. “I don’t want them fired, just moved to another position. They definitely shouldn’t be allowed to stay there if they aren’t progressing. I think that three years is a fair period to determine it.”
Pulliam added that even minuscule improvement would be enough to avoid demotion.
Her suggestion drew a variety of responses.
Jimmy Atkins, while agreeing with the concept, said any policy of this nature should be customized according to the background of individual administrators and schools.
“If we want to put something like this in place, we need to look at the past history of each school and determine the goals we want accomplished,” Atkins said. “We can’t do a cookie cutter approach to this sort of thing. If we don’t make sure we can have goals that can be reached it could cause a lot of problems.”
Board Chair Venus Cain expressed interest in Pulliam’s idea, but wanted Superintendent Frank Roberson and his staff to help create the policy.
“Let’s take it back to the cabinet and let our attorney draft it,” Cain said. “We need to really plan this out if we are to do it.”
Board Attorney Pete Fletcher advised caution, though.
“If we tie this (to) the performance of principals, we need to make sure all of the procedures involved are well thought out and detailed,” Fletcher said. “It’ll be necessary to keep morale up with our employees. We’ll have administrators avoid schools that have proven difficult in the past because they’ll be scared of getting drummed out and we don’t want that to happen.”
The board passed a motion to create a sample deadline policy, which would then be discussed at a later date.
In other business:
• Roberson presented preliminary 2014 Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests to the board, noting increased test scores in almost every subject across grades 3-8. “We are showing improvements in student achievement. It’s definitely a move in the right direction,” he said. “These results show the quality of our teachers and their dedication to their work.”
• The board passed the 2015 fiscal year budget, reducing the number of furlough days from nine to five and including provisions for hiring 32 new teachers.
• The board approved allowing military families living off-base in areas zoned for attendance at Langford Middle School and Sue-Reynolds Elementary to apply to attend the Freedom Park School at Fort Gordon. Those interested should visit rcboe.org or the schools’ Web sites to find the application, which needs to be delivered to Deputy Superintendent Tom Spivey by July 11.