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Board, officials retreat for summer

By Greg Gelpi

Although school is out for most students, school officials are heading back to class.

Members of the Clayton County Board of Education will attend the Georgia School Boards Association Summer Conference and Pre-Conference Training in Savannah today through Saturday.

Allen T. Johnson, who took office in August as the newest member of the board, said the GSBA workshops provide information on a wide range of school issues.

Of concern to Johnson is how other school systems in the state handle their Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. An extension of Clayton County's one-cent school SPLOST could be on the ballot in September.

Other school board members attending are Nedra Ware, Carol Kellam and Connie Kitchens.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the school system's accrediting agency, recommended that board members receive training on their roles and responsibilities when it previously placed the system on probation. State law also requires school board training.

While the board is in Savannah, senior school officials and school principals will be receiving their own training during their annual retreat at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain.

"We're not trying to reinvent the wheel here," school spokeswoman Camille Barbee Olmstead said. "We're going to look at the data out there and make data-driven decisions. We're going to find ways to increase student achievement by focusing our efforts on leadership."

The three days of sessions and focus groups will bring the leaders of the school system together to share ideas that work and consider new innovative ideas that may improve the system, Olmstead said.