Originally created 08/16/97

Richmond students won't have full use of new workbooks



Students returning to Richmond County schools next week will find shiny new workbooks for language arts classes - only they can't fully use them just yet.

The system received free workbooks for this year's crop of students when it bought Silver Burdett language arts books in May. But now teachers are concerned they won't have workbooks in 1998-99 if they allow students to write in the new ones, said Virginia Bradshaw, assistant superintendent for instruction.

Students use the workbooks for exercises in spelling or reading comprehension, for example, after using their regular textbooks. The school system print shop can photocopy the spelling workbooks, but needs to assure teachers they'll get more workbooks for the other language arts areas, Dr. Bradshaw said.

"That's what we're working on right now, getting a statement" to teachers, she said. "All of them could write in them, but they're wanting us to say there'll be a replacement next year. They don't want to use them up if they won't have a replacement."

With classes just starting, there's little need for the workbooks next week, Dr. Bradshaw said. Students shouldn't notice any difference and the teachers should have the reassurance they want by early next week, she said.

Also on Friday, Richmond County school police chief Maj. Mike Farrell said it will likely be November before his officers get new bullet-proof vests school trustees agreed to buy Thursday.

When the vests arrive, all officers working night patrols, even those providing security at football games or other events, will be required to wear them. Trustees agreed Thursday to buy 32 vests as a result of the July 16 shooting death of Officer Michael Stephenson, killed when answering a school burglary alarm before dawn.

On Friday, school financial officials continued to watch a potential cash flow problem that could affect how the school system pays its September bills.

The system is spending $6.2 million of its available cash to pay renovation and construction bills at Lucy C. Laney High School and the new McBean Elementary School, yet won't recoup the money from the 1-cent sales tax until October, said Controller Gene Spires. The situation is not dire, but could require short-term borrowing next month if departments can't pare down spending enough, he said.

"This is the first time since I've been in the system that it looks like we are going to be very, very tight on paying our September obligations," Mr. Spires said at the Thursday board meeting. He's worked in Richmond County schools since the late 1980s.

But two newly promoted assistant principals will have their minds on other things come Monday, their first school opening as administrators. Trustees voted unanimously Thursday to promote Terry McMullen to assistant principal at Glenn Hills Middle School, where he'd been a teacher, and Coren Wilson to assistant principal at Murphey Middle School. Ms. Wilson was a T.W. Josey High School teacher.