Board sets search timeline

By Trina Trice

Cornelius Antonio, a senior at Riverdale High School, let the members of the Clayton County Board of Education know at Monday night's meeting that they are putting his future in jeopardy when they violate board policies and act selfishly.

"It's what's going on in the community that brings me here today," Antonio said robustly before a packed house. "Because of the board's actions ? the students' future is in jeopardy. I've given my blood, sweat and tears to the community. I know already the obstacles that stand before me as an African-American male. Now, I have to worry about power-hungry individuals more concerned about their jobs."

Antonio walked away from the podium with a standing ovation from the entire audience and all school board members, except for Chairwoman Nedra Ware and Vice Chairwoman Connie Kitchens.

Heeding Antonio's plea, to some extent, the board conducted business without arguments or disagreements.

Board Attorney Gary Sams presented the board with a proposed timeline submitted by the Georgia School Boards Association, the organization handling the school board's national superintendent search.

The deadline for receiving applications is Oct. 21, a date the board voted for unanimously. An ad is being placed with various publications and organizations, including the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the National Association of Black School Educators, The New York Times, Black Planet, the American Association of School Board Administrators, and the National School Boards Association.

"The next step is up to the school board," Sams said.

GSBA will conduct background checks on selected applicants and will brief the board on legal issues involved in interviewing the applicants.

In other business, interim Superintendent Dr. William Chavis told the board a committee is being formed to look into the validity of the county's Evening School.

Enrollment for the school that offers remediation classes for students at night has dropped from an average of 700 to 74 for the current school year.

During the curriculum update, Lynda Daniel, assistant superintendent of elementary curriculum, told board members many students are taking advantage of the online courses offered at all of the county's high schools for remediation purposes.

"You have to remember that remediation (courses are) free, but evening school is $190," Chavis said. "Most people can't afford that."

A report on whether or not the county should keep the Evening School will be made at the school board's Oct. 6 meeting, Chavis said.