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School Board meets: GES continues to protest

The Madison County School Board came together for their bi-monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 5, at 6 p.m. The session was kicked off with public comment. Citizen, Amy Barfield, approached the podium. Her concern was the excess of qualified local applicants who are required to work out of district because they are repeatedly turned down for positions in Madison County. She stressed the importance of keeping local, hard-working talent in the Madison School District and not allowing them to slip through the cracks and benefit other counties. Superintendent Brown acknowledged her remarks and asked to meet with her and discuss her concerns at a later date. After Barfield's remarks, the Board consented the agenda and moved on to items up for individual consideration. The first business item was a request for a group of students and chaperones from James Madison Preparatory High School to attend a special SSTRIDE event on June 1. The Board approved the request unanimously. Next, the Board approved new screened school volunteers, personnel changes, non-instructional recommendations, the summer school proposal and staffing table revisions. Then, Superintendent Brown updated the Board on the progress of the construction project, stating that new technology elements such as top-of-the-line smart boards were being reviewed for purchase. In addition, he said that, by the next board meeting, he would have more information on a potential welding program. Additional issues discussed included the continued debacle over the district's lack of support for Greenville Elementary, whose administrators, faculty and parents feel neglected. Boardmember, VeEtta Hagan, reported that she has received many phone calls from concerned parents who fear sending their children to school next year without important issues being addressed. There is a genuine concern for the safety and welfare of GES students. According to Hagan, Greenville Elementary staff and parents have requested a workshop with Representative Gwen Graham in order to expose the negligence of the School district in regards to Greenville Elementary. After Hagan addressed the issues stemming from the lack of attention given to Greenville, she directly asked Superintendent Brown what his response was, to which he replied: “We are doing everything in our power to make sure the students at Greenville Elementary have a quality education... We have some issues over there (GES) that we have been trying to address. The roof of the gym, which was leaking, we had a company come in and apply sealant... you're right, we need to walk-through and make sure we have met the needs of every child at Greenville.” Boardmember Hagan responded, “These folks think they have been short-changed. They were here at the school board meeting the other night and now they are meeting and they are serious.” Other news included the establishment of the 2015-2016 School Calendar, which includes an August 17 start date, a three day Thanksgiving break and a May 27 end date. Other changes include an early release on one Wednesday per month to allow for teacher planning. Lastly, Superintendent Brown informed the Board that FDOE found Madison's monitoring report on bullying to be compliant with their standards, which assures the Madison School District they have been following proper protocol in regards to bullying. This was good news for all.

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