Jeff Meadors, District 1 Board of Education member, held a second public forum Oct. 5 in the auditorium of Alcovy High School. Students, parents, school officials, central office staff, teachers and school administrators attended the forum titled "School Board on your Corner No. 2: Public Input on Schools." Meadors held a previous forum at the school on July 28.
While Meadors chose not to have an agenda at this forum so that he could gather public input before both the special called BOE meeting at 9 a.m. on Oct. 10 and the Oct. 11 BOE work session, questions from the public focused on the career academy, the system budget and technology. Teachers from Rocky Plains Elementary questioned Meadors about local school technology. Gary Shattuck, director of technology for Newton County School Services, fielded those questions, while Meadors and James Woodard, CEO of Newton College and Career Academy , responded to questions regarding career pathways and post-secondary articulation at NCCA.
The bulk of the 90 minute forum focused on the system budget. A contingency of teachers from Rocky Plains Elementary asked Meadors to confirm hearsay that surplus dollars currently exist in the system budget. Meadors, accompanied by District 3 BOE member Shakila Henderson-Baker, who attended the meeting, confirmed that there are dollars in the budget that were previously unanticipated.
Teachers from both Rocky Plains and Alcovy High School expressed concerns about furlough days, the continued reduction to benefits, the increasing need to purchase schools supplies for their students out of pocket, and class sizes. Meadors and Henderson-Baker assured the audience that they would work to make fiscally sound decisions while maintaining a focus on the classroom.
"Despite the continuously negative news about our system relative to test scores and AYP, I continue to be optimistic about the untold stories of success in our system," Meadors said. "There are National Merit finalists, students on state-wide committees and students being offered full scholarships who I can name. They don't appear in an AYP report. There are success stories you are not hearing about."
The school board will meet at 9 a.m. Oct. 10 at the BOE for a special called meeting.