Area school boards reject state's advice

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Local school leaders say a legislative fight might be looming over guidelines for Georgia's school boards.

Their concerns follow last month's release of a Commission for School Board Excellence report that recommends the Georgia General Assembly standardize school boards in several ways. Statewide suggestions include eliminating compensation for school board members except on a per diem basis, establishing a code of ethics policy, limiting boards to five to seven members and requiring board members to have at least a high school diploma or GED.

The 100-plus-page report was presented at a September meeting of the state Board of Education. Many local boards are worried it's an effort to limit their control.

"I don't think any of us want to relinquish any power to the state," Richmond County school board President Jimmy Atkins said. "I think that school systems are better served if they have a local board of education."

Columbia County school board President Regina Buccafusco agreed.

"When things are run from a distance, you lose something," she said. "All politics should be as local as possible."

The Georgia School Boards Association has sent local school boards Web-based surveys seeking their input. Laura Reilly, the communications director for the association, said she expects to compile those results next week.

"We're for anything that improves governance," Ms. Reilly said. "We did have some concerns, however, on some recommendations that sought to move local decision-making to Atlanta."

The boards in Richmond and Columbia counties oppose nearly all the recommendations, Mr. Atkins and Mrs. Buccafusco said. Both believe their school districts are challenged by different problems best understood by local representatives.

"There is no one-size-fits-all approach," Mr. Atkins said. "I don't even see an argument the state can make for that."

However, Mark Elgart, the president and chief executive officer of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which helped develop the recommendations, says the changes would have benefits.

"I believe that what the legislation is designed to do is bring greater clarity to the role of a local board of education in conducting itself," Dr. Elgart said.

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.

WHAT'S NEXT?

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools President and CEO Mark Elgart said the Commission for School Board Excellence will start meeting with state lawmakers, hoping to turn school board improvement recommendations into bills for consideration during the next legislative session.


The Georgia School Board Association hopes to compile the results of an October survey of school boards next week. The results might be used as a lobbying tool against commission recommendations.

Comments (17) Add comment
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g-dog express
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g-dog express 10/31/08 - 04:25 am
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Is anyone surprised? School

Is anyone surprised? School systems rarely follow state recommendations anymore.

Martinez
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Martinez 10/31/08 - 04:39 am
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Local school boards need the

Local school boards need the local support and authority to address the unique challenges their district face. Even neighboring counties, such as Richmond and Columbia, have different priorities and challenges to address, based on the needs of their students. Yes, academic standards and even guideliness on how to acheive those standards can be helpful but there is definitely not a "one size fits all" solution for all districts just as there is not a boxed solution for all students.

iamthebadamerican_
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iamthebadamerican_ 10/31/08 - 05:25 am
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You mean these things aren't

You mean these things aren't already in place?

karmakills123
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karmakills123 10/31/08 - 06:08 am
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RCSB needs all the

RCSB needs all the supervision that the State can pour on it....unqualified and lazy and indifferent money spending members need watching!

sgachief
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sgachief 10/31/08 - 06:16 am
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All of these items need to be

All of these items need to be implemented as soon as the legislature resumes in January.

kai@reasontostand.org
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kai@reasontostand.org 10/31/08 - 06:23 am
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School board members aren't

School board members aren't currently required to have a GED or diploma? How well can they advise others how to do something they, themselves, have never heeded? How can someone who has never been there tell others how (much less the BEST way) to get there? Seems like a perfect recipe for disaster and I think anyone who would willingly oppose common sense guidelines like these ought to be impeached by reason of ignorance to prevent the disease from spreading.

aaa
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aaa 10/31/08 - 07:08 am
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Good for them. We need less

Good for them. We need less government in all aspects of our lives. Ever notice how government first presents itself: Hi! I'm here to help. Then, watch out! Government in any form becomes a cancer if you allow it any entrance at all.

Craig Spinks
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Craig Spinks 10/31/08 - 07:09 am
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CORRECTION: The results of

CORRECTION: The results of the survey developed, conducted and reported by the Georgia School Boards Association(GSBA) WILL be used by the GSBA to lobby against commission recommendations. If the GSBA lobbies for local school boards, who lobbies for the kids?

getalife
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getalife 10/31/08 - 07:13 am
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I think the suggestions for

I think the suggestions for requirements for a school board are all good. The two school board members commenting are saying the school board should be run locally. I didn't see any suggestion that the state run the school board, just add the suggested requirements that will help ensure that the board members are capable of being on a board. Although they may have to explain what "Ethics" means to the current local boards, ie fighting, cussing, etc.

J.W.
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J.W. 10/31/08 - 07:24 am
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The GA Dept of Education has

The GA Dept of Education has done such a wonderful job of running the education system so far that I'm sure we would all welcome them to run our individual systems. After all, Kathy Cox IS smarter than a 5th grader!

youallkillme
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youallkillme 10/31/08 - 07:45 am
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This has nothing to do with

This has nothing to do with the BOE's but another fine thing the state does is give a monthly check if students attend school is some situations. It doesn't matter if they're 18 and still in the 9th grade, causes problems at school, and admits that check is the only reason they are there.
NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND

g-dog express
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g-dog express 10/31/08 - 08:07 am
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My issue is that the schools

My issue is that the schools think they should be accountable to no one. When Kathy Cox suggested that schools start a little later because of all of the lengthened summer schooling due to the low CRCT scores neither Columbia or Richmond Counties followed her advice. Two years ago Columbia Co. offered three dates to start for the current year we are in because of the complaints of starting too early. After the parents spoke up overwhelmingly chose a date the school system did what they wanted to do in the first place. You have heard the old adage you want to know how good a man is see how he treats his mother. If you want to know how good a school system is, see how they treat the support staff. Both Richmond and Columbia Counties fail miserably. Folks the school systems are a mess and they do not want to hear from anyone let alone take their advice or submit to anyones authority. And these people want to form your children's mind.

disssman
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disssman 10/31/08 - 08:41 am
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Just who does Atlanta think

Just who does Atlanta think they are demanding board members have a H.S. education? I mean, just look at some of the english used by posters, obviously highly educated. And the hypocricy of adding Ethics rules, no way. And lastly, what would we be like if our boards and commissions wern't composed by a crowd? Why, next thing you know they will be demanding disclosure of the boards budget to the citizens and insisting on accountability! Yes, there is no way we want this in our fair city. Just remember, if it was good enough in 1901, its good enough today, why change.

MyOpinion2
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MyOpinion2 10/31/08 - 09:15 am
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I am onboard with the Area

I am onboard with the Area School Board's decision! LESS GOVERNMENT! YOU GO! Only wish the schools would begin at 9:00 and end at 3:00. Children learn better if rested.

thistownisunbelievable
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thistownisunbelievable 10/31/08 - 10:18 am
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This article doesn't contain

This article doesn't contain even a hint about the majority of the state's actual recommendations (the ones the local board folks seem to be commenting on). I wish they'd give us a little more information about the proposal.

disssman
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disssman 10/31/08 - 02:30 pm
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Folks just look at the

Folks just look at the response from "myopinion2" and you will see, how most compASSionate CONservatives in this area feel, and why my original post was right on the mark!

gnx
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gnx 11/01/08 - 03:29 am
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Sure, maybe there are

Sure, maybe there are specific differences within each county, but when you realize the wide disparity of educational levels across the state then perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea for the state to step in and handle certain aspects. I think it would certainly give CC a kick in the butt when it comes to certain schools within their district. Instead of doing what is right and focusing efforts on improving those schools they choose instead to spend the money and other resources on those schools not in need, then wonder why parents gripe about school districts being redrawn. Go CC!

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