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Ware, Kitchens micromanaging

By Trina Trice

Evidence of school board leadership's micromanagement in the school system has emerged yet again.

Clayton County Board of Education Chairwoman Nedra Ware and Vice Chairwoman Connie Kitchens sent a letter to Jackie Hubbert, assistant superintendent of Area 1 schools, Tuesday morning ordering her to stop airing the board's July 8 meeting on the school system's cable Channel 24.

"The videotape that is being aired shows the July 8, 2003 board meeting, which is against the stated policy and the S.A.C.S. recommendations," the letter states. "I am requesting that the videotaping of the July 8, 2003 Board Meeting be pulled IMMEDIATELY."

Ware contends that the new policy states "that only business portions of the meetings will be aired."

However, no portion of the policy, available on line at www.clayton.k12.ga.us/policy/classindex.asp?P=B, states such a thing.

Board policy, adopted in early June, states that regular business meetings of the board will be videotaped and periodically broadcast on the district's public access cable channel.

Ware also believes the videos must be reviewed first by Interim Superintendent Dr. William Chavis and herself before airing on the channel to ensure the policy is being followed. However, the policy does not state such a requirement.

Hubbert is heading the school system while Chavis and acting Deputy Superintendent Bill Horton attend the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders Conference on Jekyll Island.

When asked how she plans to proceed with Ware's request Hubbert said, "I'm not at liberty to discuss that right now. I need to talk to Dr. Chavis."

Chavis will return to work Monday.

Board member Linda Crummy told Ware that she should leave the matter to Chavis "as we were told last week not to interfere with the day-to-day operation of the school system, which is a direct violation of SACS," Crummy said.

The board recently spent two days at a retreat in Lawrenceville with the Georgia School Boards Association to learn more about updating its policies and how to properly run its meetings.

GSBA staff strongly encouraged the board to allow the school superintendent to run the district.

GSBA officials also reminded the board on several occasions that they have no power as individuals, only as a unified board.

The board went to the retreat in hopes of helping it fulfill recommendations made by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools that placed the school system on probation due to board leadership micromanaging among other things.

SACS also charged the board with violating its own policies, therefore recommending they review and revise its policies, as well as learn not to act as individuals, but as a board.

The controversial July 8 meeting Ware wants pulled shows members Crummy, Ericka Davis, Barbara Wells and Dr. Bob Livingston adamantly trying to add a national superintendent search commitment by the board to the agenda.

Davis made an impassioned speech about her intention to give her constituents what they've been asking the board for ? a national search for a new school chief.

The motion she made to add the item on the agenda failed 4-4. To add an item on the agenda after the agenda has already been set takes a majority vote for approval.

Davis, Wells, Crummy, and Livingston then walked out of the meeting, forcing Ware to adjourn it because there was no quorum.