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Are we experiencing deja vu with the BOE? - ROBERT BOYER

To the editor:

Here we go again ...

It's been only 5 months since our new school board took office with great hope from the community. While we all celebrate the return of our school system's accreditation, one should not overlook the probationary status.

Every action our school board takes should be consistent with the expectations of SACS (the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) and in the best interest of our community.

They should also consider whether the action will motivate 3,000-plus students to return to our system. Public perception of this school board will play a role in this family decision. Anyone struggling with this decision wasn't helped by reading Monday's article (May 18) on the vote for a new superintendent.

The selection of a new superintendent should have included more public involvement, including the opportunity to engage the three finalists. Also, a 5-4 vote to hire Dr. Heatley is not fair to the community or our next leader. While I was impressed by Dr. Heatley during a recent public meeting, the board failed to adequately notify the community of the event.

This hiring should have been a unified board and community decision. Did Monday night's vote split this board and impact its working relationship with Dr. Heatley? Let's hope we don't spend relocation expenses and $250,000 per year for another short-term leader.

The community wonders about the recent contract given to Interim Supterintendent Valya Lee. Just weeks before announcing Dr. Heatley as their sole, final candidate, our board offers Dr. Lee a one-year contract consistent with the salary past superintendents have been paid. At that time, many believed she would be selected our next superintendent and the community feedback was very positive. Now it seems a poor budget decision at a time other positions are being eliminated in our schools.

There are, and will be, other budget cuts and actions that should concern you. One is the elimination of "retired" educators from our classrooms. At a time that we need the very best educators in our classrooms, this decision seems inappropriate.

Our system lost far too many excellent educators in recent years and eliminating more makes no sense. Judge the individuals on performance and contribution to the school community.

Thirty-plus years of classroom experience is difficult to replace. I know because I'm blessed to be married to one who has served children with special needs for 32 years in the same Clayton County school.

I only wish our school board served our children with the same spirit and effort.

ROBERT BOYER Jonesboro