Originally created 11/28/98

Schools set their priorities



The Columbia County Board of Education plans to let local lawmakers know what it considers priority for the upcoming legislative session.

Board members hope to meet with legislators sometime before Christmas. Every year, the school board gets together with General Assembly delegates to discuss legislative issues affecting schools.

One concern could be funding, said Tommy Price, acting superintendent. The school system has endorsed concerns outlined by the Georgia School Superintendents Association.

"This will send a clear message," Mr. Price said.

The statewide association has prepared a list of concerns regarding a local-state partnership in the Quality Basic Education Act, which sets a formula for local and state shares in education funding.

The local portion increases automatically as the value of taxable property increases, but the state share only increases when the General Assembly approves an increase.

Issues include state funding for personnel salaries and benefits, instructional materials and equipment, and facility maintenance and operation.

"The key focus is on the formula," Mr. Price said.

But Mr. Price and board members said funding issues are not the only priorities of Columbia County's school system.

For example, board member Debbi Brooks said other important issues include disciplinary reform and student discipline problems in schools, student achievement and parental responsibility for students who bring guns to school.