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BOE changes location, time for meeting tonight

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

The Clayton County Board of Education is going to hold its March business meeting at 6:30 p.m., tonight, in the Clayton County Performing Arts Center at 2530 Mt. Zion Pkwy, Jonesboro.

The board decided to hold the meeting at the 1,800-seat Performing Arts Center in anticipation of a high turnout. The Central Administration Complex in Jonesboro, the usual meeting site, seats just over 300 people, according to district spokesman Charles White.

The ongoing issue of the recent recommendation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to revoke the school system's accreditation will be discussed. SACS made the request because of alleged micromanagement, unethical behavior and misuse of district funds by board members.

White said this is the first time since he was hired in 2004 that the board has had to seek out a larger venue for its meeting.

"We are obligated by state law to find a larger venue to hold our meetings, if a larger-than-usual turnout is expected," White said. "Because of public interest in this being the first normal meeting of the board, where public comment would be allowed since the SACS report came out. The feeling [among district and board leaders] was there would be enough people wishing to attend this meeting to warrant using a larger venue."

The doors of the Performing Arts Center will open to the public at 5:30 p.m., and sign-up for participation by visitors, otherwise known as public comment, will last from 5:45 p.m., to 6:20 p.m.

"We are asking that, in keeping with Board Policy BCBI, groups are asked to designate a single spokesperson, so more people will have a chance to address the board," White said.

White said temporary metal detectors will be set up at the doors to ensure the safety of the audience, district officials and board members. He also said those attending "may be subject to [an] additional search, with a hand-held metal detection device, by trained security personnel."

The agenda for the meeting will include a SACS update from Glenn Brock, the attorney hired by the board to deal with the accreditation issue. Also, Interim Superintendent Gloria Duncan will recommend principals for Jonesboro High, River's Edge Elementary, Kendrick Middle, and Mt. Zion Primary schools, as well as two assistant principals for Forest Park High School, and a coordinator for health and physical education.

Duncan will also recommend upgrading Charles White from the coordinator of communications to the director of communications and public relations. The board will vote on the annual renewal of all administrative personnel, ranging from district staff to assistant principals.

Ronnie Watts, the school system's director of construction, will ask the board to adopt boundary changes for Mount Zion Primary School, and a resolution to amend the district's local, five-year facility plan.

Paul Robbins, executive director of fine arts, will present a feasibility study of orchestras and bands for elementary schools, as well as forming an All-County High School Band, Chorus and Orchestra.