Superintendent search tops tonight's board meeting

By Trina Trice

Clayton County residents like Terry Bizzell are keeping a watchful eye on the Clayton County Board of Education.

That's why Bizzell is making an effort to attend the monthly meeting Monday.

"SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) is supposed to be making another trip," he said. "I want to see and make sure the board continues to move along in a positive direction and do what they can to work together."

SACS placed the school system on probation in June because of the micromanagement of the school board's leaders in the daily operations of school administration, such as ordering personnel transfers.

To get the school district off of probation, which must be done within a year's time before losing accreditation, the school board is conducting a national superintendent search, one of the SACS "recommendations" for being in compliance.

The school board is using the Georgia School Boards Association to help with its search.

GSBA is a non-profit organization that provides guidance and other services for numerous school boards in Georgia.

At Monday's meeting, GSBA is presenting to the school board a proposed timeline for the search, said GSBA consultant Don Rooks, coordinator of the superintendent search.

The board is also discussing criteria they feel is essential for the district's next school chief.

The school system's probation status, continues to alarm Clayton County residents, especially high school students.

Teri Louis, a tenth-grader at Mt. Zion High School, worries about the HOPE Scholarship, which represents college money for Georgia students who graduate from high school with a "B" average.

"I would like to (talk to school board members) so I can be able to talk more to them about my future education. If my school loses accreditation, there would be problems for me in the future."

To be eligible for the HOPE scholarship, students must graduate from an accredited school.

Board Vice Chairwoman Connie Kitchens said recently that she was concerned the county's low performance on the Scholastic Assessment Test, or SAT, will affect the school system getting off of probation.

Sam King, assistant superintendent of Support Services and Continuous Improvements, is presenting a report on how the county did on the SAT at Monday's meeting.

The total average score for the county was 897, an obvious drop from last year's score of 904.

In 2002, the average verbal score for Clayton County students was 448. For 2003 the score rose a point to 449.

The math score this year is 448, dropping eight points from 456, the score last year.