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Posted: October 2, 2012 6:52 p.m.

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Supe's Corner: Charter schools, challenges and update on budget


In this edition of "Supe's Corner," I will dicuss the constitutional amendment on state-created charter schools within local school systems, school visits and school challeneges and an update on the budget.

An amendment to the Georgia Constitution related to the state creation of charter schools within local school systems is on the ballot for Tuesday, Nov. 6. Please make sure that you educate yourself on this proposition prior to going to the polls. As state law limits my advocacy on this matter, I urge you to become informed and to vote

As always, I thoroughly enjoyed my visits to a number of our schools this month: Middle Ridge, Veterans, Newton High, Liberty, Oak Hill, Rocky Plains, Live Oak and West Newton. And, as always, I find our teachers/support staff/administrators at work - "hard and smart"-serving the children of our community. Teaching - and its support - is not an easy task in these times, but it is still one of the most important tasks one can perform in any community.

And despite all of the nonsense we often see in print, schools are the
one entity in our society that are expected to overcome the ills of society from crime to drugs to dysfunctional families. As for our schools, we are but a reflection of the community-at-large and as I like to quote: "No community is better than its public schools."
That said, we daily take up the challenge to teach all the students - a critical component of our democratic way of life. (And, in Georgia, public school educators teach more than 90 percent of all school-age children.)

As for our current progress in NCSS, we are challenged by a transient population that moves around (1,317 elementary withdrawals, 624 middle school withdrawals, and 875 high school withdrawals in 2011-12) and by other community-based challenges. Even with these challenges, our NCSS teachers and other staff have our system on a good trajectory: improving CRCT scores, improving EOCT scores, improving ACT scores and improving SAT scores as of the very latest data And, while the sheer "level" of some of the performance within these improved numbers is not satisfactory, we'd rather be improving than not. Keep on keep'n on...and thank you for what you do in the service of our children and community.

As always, I like to keep you updated on fiscal matters. Visit to see the PDF per our Business Manager Peggy Bullard overviewing our current budget status as of Sept. 5. It captures our General Fund budget for last school year, this year, and a two-year projection inclusive of the upcoming school year and the one that follows. The chart begins with the 2011-12 cuts of $8,269,688. Thereafter, you will find a "running record" of major budgetary matters impacting our bottom line. Finally, the chart included on the PDF Sept. 2012 on page 2 of 2, shows a projected fund balance of $13,115,944 at the end of this current school year.

However, the budget picture, assuming the same revenue and level of expenditures, diminishes through the end of 2014-15. (Remember, this General Fund Budget is not the same as our Capital Improvements Budget - via SPLOST - which largely pays for such things as buildings, buses and technology, etc. These are two separate pots of money meant for distinct purposes.)

And I trust that you and your family and friends have enjoyed Fall Break.

Dr. Gary Mathews is the Superintendent of the Newton County School System and writes a semi-monthly column for The Covington News.


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