School board under county scrutiny: Commissioners quiz school officials

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Jessie Burchette

Salisbury Post

County commissioners have lots of questions about the state of the Rowan-Salisbury Schools and the system’s failure to meet goals in the federal No Child Left Behind program.

Last month, school officials revealed that the system is in the bottom 11 in the state in meeting the federal goals and faces mandatory corrective action.

A state assistance team is scheduled to arrive in Salisbury on Tuesday.

The school board and top school officials are scheduled to meet with the Rowan County Board of Commissioners at 4 p.m. Monday. The session will also include a time for public comment.

“It’s our intent to show our citizens that the Board of County Commissioners and the school board are prepared to work together to do what we can to make things better for our school kids,” said Arnold Chamberlain, chairman of the Board of Commissioners.

Chamberlain said he realizes that the county’s position is as a funding partner. “I’m willing to let the elected school board do its job, but they must realize there is accountability to anyone who receives county tax dollars.”

“We want to share information so everybody understands what this AYP (Average Yearly Progress) goals are,” said Bryce Beard, chairman of the Board of Education.

Beard said the school system has changed course, starting with the arrival of Dr. Judy Grissom as superintendent in April.

School officials are scheduled to make a presentation to commissioners on the No Child Left Behind program and the history of the AYP status of the system for the past four years, as well as explain the corrective action status.

School officials also plan to discuss future steps to improve education and testing results.

Beard said Friday the school system has already taken major steps with the adoption of a school improvement plan.

“We want to make sure we can look at ourselves in the mirror as teachers, administrators and board members, and say we are doing the best we can,” said Beard. “We can do that by sharing ideas, agreeing on a plan, and having the administration enforce the plan systemwide so there won’t be any (children left behind).”

The meeting will be at 4 p.m. Monday in the J. Newton Cohen Sr. Meeting Room, County Administrative Offices, 130 W. Innes St.