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BOE to vote on separate public-participation meetings

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Tonight may be the last time members of the public will be allowed to address the Clayton County Board of Education during a business meeting.

The board will vote during tonight's meeting on whether the public comment portion of monthly business meetings will be removed, in favor of a separate meeting in which citizens can voice their concerns about the school system.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m., at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center, 2530 Mt. Zion Pkwy., Jonesboro.

The board's public-participation policy presently allows a resident two minutes to address the board at its first meeting of the month.

In late May, revisions were introduced which would create a separate public-comment meeting that would be held on the Thursday following the board's monthly work session. The school system adjusted those revisions in June to give members of the public three minutes, instead of two, to address the board.

If the board adopts the policy changes, public comment would be eliminated from the business meetings as a result.

The board will also vote on a new "Civility Policy," which outlines how board members and citizens are expected to treat each other, district staff, teachers and board members while they are on school system property.

Corrective Superintendent John Thompson will also recommend assistant principals for Mount Zion Primary School; Callaway, River's Edge and West Clayton elementary schools; Babb and Kendrick middle schools, and North Clayton High School.

In addition, Thompson will give the monthly "Superintendent's Report," and an update on the district's efforts to meet the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' (SACS) nine mandates by Sept. 1. Thompson has repeatedly told parents the district is at least 90 percent of the way toward fulfilling the mandates.

Board Chairperson Michelle Strong said the budget will be amended during the meeting, though.

Since the last work session, Strong has decided the board needs to pull a relative of hers out of the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget, so the board can re-vote on a cost-of-living adjustment and pay increase for the chairperson's relative. On July 11, Strong said the board will change the agenda during tonight's meeting so the item can be added.

The board approves the agenda for its business meetings at the preceding work session. Any changes to the agenda have to be done through an amendment proposed during the business meeting by a board member.