Board Briefs: School Board Unanimously Approves 2016 Legislative Program

Board Briefs: School Board Unanimously Approves 2016 Legislative Program

The School Board on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015, approved its 2016 Legislative Program, which is published annually to inform the community as to how the Cherokee County State Legislative Delegation could better assist the Cherokee County School District.

The 2016 Legislative priorities outlined in the Program, which was unanimously approved by the School Board, ask the State Legislature to:

  • Fund the existing State educational funding formula to fully restore “austerity budget cuts”;
  • Address skyrocketing premiums and out-out-pocket expenses for participation in the State Health Benefit Program;
  • Support local control and management of public schools rather than supporting State takeover plans like the Governor’s proposed “Opportunity School District” Constitutional Amendment;
  • Correct evaluation models for teachers and administrators to allow greater emphasis on observation of their performance by trained administrators and supervisors;
  • Stop the erosion of the State’s tax base through tax exemptions for private companies;
  • Oppose the continuation and/or expansion of programs that use public funds to pay for private school tuition and/or provide tax incentives; and,
  • Undertake no modifications to Federal funding access and availability that would delay or reduce local school districts’ earned allocations.

School Board Member Clark Menard thanked the Superintendent and his staff for adding the last priority, which he had requested. Mr. Menard said he is frustrated by State Legislators’ proposals to take away the local control of a school board’s ability to accept Federal funds for such needs as Title I schools, which have higher percentages of low-income students, and outstanding teachers who qualify for grants.

“There’s nothing more local than a school board,” Mr. Menard said, as to who should make the decision whether to accept Federal funds.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo agreed, and also spoke to the recently unveiled proposals from the Governor-appointed Education Reform Commission that would continue to shortchange public schools the State funding they are owed through the existing funding formula by reconfiguring the formula with a lower starting point.

“It’s convenient to say ‘we’re going to fully fund a new formula,’ but to not start it out at the funding levels we’re currently owed,” Dr. Petruzielo said, noting the State “austerity budget cut” for CCSD currently totals $11 Million. “I think it’s irresponsible, and the quality of education is going to be in direct correlation with the lack of full funding. People like to say ‘You can’t fix a problem by throwing money at it,” but I’m here to say that I’ve been a superintendent for 25 years, and I don’t remember anyone ever throwing money at me. I’ve had to fight and claw for every dollar that our children were owed.”

Dr. Petruzielo’s passionate advocacy for public education resulted in a special moment at Thursday’s meeting when two Woodstock High School students, Brittany and Sydney Gunter, spoke during Public Participation to thank him for his 50 years of service as an educator and present him with a U.S. Flag flown over the U.S. Capitol.

Woodstock High School students Sydney, left, and Brittany Gunter present Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo with a U.S. flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in appreciation of his 50 years of service as an educator and his advocacy for public education.

Woodstock High School students Sydney, left, and Brittany Gunter present Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo with a U.S. flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in appreciation of his 50 years of service as an educator and his advocacy for public education.

During its regular meeting, the School Board also:

  • Recognized CCSD Transportation Department for earning ASE Blue Seal of Excellence… becoming one of the first school systems in the State to obtain this prestigious level of National certification. A list of all recognized employees is posted online;

    The CCSD Transportation Department was recognized at the School Board Meeting for earning ASE Blue Seal of Excellence… becoming one of the first school systems in the State to obtain this prestigious level of National certification.

    The CCSD Transportation Department was recognized at the School Board Meeting for earning ASE Blue Seal of Excellence… becoming one of the first school systems in the State to obtain this prestigious level of National certification.

  • Recognized CCSD High School Seniors named 2016 National Merit and National Achievement Semi-Finalists: Matthew Wang of River Ridge HS, Mackenzie Joy of Sequoyah HS and Paula Ruiz of Woodstock HS;
  • Recognized Georgia School Public Relations Association (GSPRA) Publication Award-winning CCSD staff members;
  • Presented a “trailer” with excerpts from the first “Learning from Legends: Retired Educators Share Their Wisdom” video record, a new collaboration between CCSD and the Cherokee Retired Educators Association inspired by the StoryCorps national oral history project and the annual observance of Retired Educators Day;
  • Approved monthly financial reports;
  • Approved out-of-state and overnight student field trips;
  • Approved monthly update on capital outlay projects;
  • Approved monthly personnel recommendations including appointing: Abbey Philpot, currently an assistant principal at Hasty ES Fine Arts Academy, as the new Principal of Clayton ES; Jennifer McIntosh, currently a teacher at Clark Creek ES STEM Academy, as a new assistant principal at Hasty ES Fine Arts Academy; and Dr. Susan McQuade, a teacher at Boston ES, as a new assistant principal at Macedonia ES; and,
  • Met in Executive Session to review a personnel matter and a student discipline matter; upon returning to open session, the Board voted to uphold the tribunal’s decision in regard to the student discipline matter. Next School Board meeting: 7 p.m. Dec. 3, 2015

Nest School Board meeting: 7 p.m. December 3, 2015