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BOE to vote on school chief's contract, budget

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

The Clayton County Board of Education is scheduled to look at several issues concerning the state of the school system and its future tonight at its work session.

Votes to tentatively adopt the district's proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2010, and to approve a contract for Edmond Heatley, the man who could become the school system's next superintendent are on the agenda for the meeting. The school board is also slated to review scores from the Criterion-Referenced competency Tests (CRCTs), and the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT).

The school board's meeting is scheduled to begin tonight, at 6:30 p.m., at the district's central office, 1058 Fifth Ave., Jonesboro.

"These are things you do at the end of the school year - you forecast," said School Board Chairperson Alieka Anderson. "We're wrapping up the school year, and preparing to move forward. We're looking at where the district is right now, and we're forecasting for the future."

Part of that forecasting calls for the board to make a decision that will affect the future of the district for several years to come. The school board met behind closed doors for more than an hour Friday evening to discuss the proposed school superintendent contract for Edmond Heatley.

The board is scheduled to vote tonight on whether it will approve the contract, which will last three years and have a base salary of $250,000 per year. Heatley is in line to become Clayton County's fifth superintendent in two years.

Anderson said Heatley, whom she called "our superintendent," is scheduled to be in attendance at tonight's work session. She declined to discuss what details of the contract were talked about Friday night, citing a state law that forbids public officials from discussing what happens in an executive session.

Earlier in the week, Heatley and Anderson said the issues of benefits and performance bonuses were the subject of contract negotiations between representatives for the superintendent candidate and the school board.

Last Monday, the board voted 5-4 to offer the permanent superintendent position to Heatley, a retired marine who is currently leading the Chino Valley (Calif.) Unified School District. "He's our superintendent now," Anderson said. "We voted in favor of hiring him."

A vote which will affect the district for the next year, though, will be the board's decision to either tentatively adopt, or reject, the school system's proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The school system is facing a $19 million reduction in state funding for the upcoming year, with district officials attributing much of that reduction to a loss of 3,200 students since last fall. The school board is required by state law to have the budget approved by June 30.

Other items on the agenda include a presentation on how students performed on the CRCTs and the GHSGT; discussion of how and when the district's third athletic stadium, which is set to open in August, will be named; a charter school update on Lewis Academy of Excellence, and a request to establish the Alpha Academy of Science, Arts and Technology.