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Education: Will your child be attending a charter school?

Rick Patrick: Greene Publishing, Inc.

“We will be slammed somehow, there will be some impact,” said School Board Chairman Bart Alford. “The only way to avoid that is to turn these schools around, and do it quickly.”

During the regularly scheduled meeting of the Madison County District School Board on Tuesday, April 18, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Pickles informed the Board of several bills making their way through the Florida Legislature. The bills causing the most concern among the School Board members have to do with Charter Schools. Some of these bills are: Senate Bill 1362, Senate Bill 796, and House Bill 5105. Specific information about these bills can be found at Charter schools are schools that will be operated by a company that will have a contract with the Florida Board of Education to operate the school. There is a push by many legislators to have charter school companies with a proven track record of success operating schools in places where current schools have had consistent “D” or “F” grades. If these charter school bills pass, Madison County Central School (MCCS), Madison County High School (MCHS), and Greenville Elementary School could be directly affected. “We will be slammed somehow, there will be some impact,” said School Board Chairman Bart Alford. “The only way to avoid that is to turn these schools around, and do it quickly.”

One concern raised by Alford was the notion that teachers were not teaching the standards they are supposed to be teaching. According to Alford, a significant amount of money has been spent by the Board on reading programs that are not being utilized by the teachers. It is Alford's belief that those teachers who are using the reading programs provided by the Board are having success, but utilization is not being carried out district wide. District 3 School Board member, VeEtta Hagan; whose district encompasses Greenville, expressed concern for the Greenville community. “If they close Greenville School, the community will dry up,” said Hagan. According to House Bill 5105, if a charter school is put in place of a failing school, it will be within five miles of the current school. The charter school would still be located in Greenville, but not operated by the local School Board. It would be operated by an outside company. Dr. Pickles encouraged everyone to follow the bills closely.

In other School Board business, the Board voted to approve the consent agenda. Items on the consent agenda included minutes from previous meetings, participation in the FDLRS grant, the PAEC contract with Gabriel, Roeder, Smith and Co. for actuarial services, GED requests, and non-general fund staff trips.

Staff trips from the general fund were approved. Several student field trips were approved. There were no school zone transfer requests.

An after school meals/child care food program was passed. This program will provide meals for students in educational and enrichment programs during after school hours. This program will be funded by the Department of Agriculture.

Permission to advertise the Controlled Open Enrollment Policy number 5121 was approved. Fifty-one screened school volunteers were approved.

A supplement for flag football coaching was passed. A non-instructional longevity supplement was also passed. There were no staffing table revisions. Permission to advertise non-instructional positions was tabled until Monday, April 24 when the Board will have a workshop meeting to discuss the Excel School. Several job descriptions were passed without discussion.

A broker agreement was presented by Dr. Pickles that will result in “significant savings,” according to Alford. This agreement will allow the District to receive accurate quotes for risk management insurance.

The next regular meeting of the Madison County District School Board is scheduled for Tuesday, May 2, at 6 p.m. in the School Board meeting room at 210 NE Duval Ave., in Madison.

Will Florida Board of Education have to take over?

Monday workshop... Excel School to become charter school?

Rick Patrick: Greene Publishing, Inc.

In a workshop meeting for the Madison County District School Board, scheduled for Monday, April 24, the Board will hear from two companies with plans to assume educational leadership duties at the Excel School. In an effort to save money and provide more efficient service to the students, the Board is considering contracting with an outside company to run/take over the school. This move would, in effect, turn the Excel School into a charter school.

The two companies, Rite of Passage from Minden, Nv. and Twin Oaks Juvenile Development from Bristol, Fl., will be making presentations to the Board with their plans for the Excel School. The Board will not be voting on the matter during the workshop meeting. This is for the purpose of information-gathering only.

The meeting is scheduled to take place on Monday, April 24, at 5 p.m. at the District Office, located at 210 NE Duval Ave., in Madison. As with all School Board meetings, the public is welcome to attend.

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