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Thomson participates in statewide meeting

Thomson High School hosted a statewide town hall meeting Thursday that might help determine the future of education funding in Georgia.

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McDuffie County Schools Technoology Director Bob Weems watches the teleconference.

Thomson High, along with 21 other schools across the state, held a teleconferenced meeting with Gov. Sonny Perdue, state Superintendent Kathy Cox and state School Board Member Dean Alford to discuss education funding.

Specifically, the state officials want to replace the current Quality Basic Education funding formula, which is primarily based student population, with the Investing in Educational Excellence, a new formula still under construction.

"I want to change the mind set in the way we finance education," Gov. Perdue said at the town hall meeting, which was broadcast from the Georgia Public Broadcasting studio in Atlanta. "I want us to not spend on education, but to invest in education."

And like any investment, Gov. Perdue expects a return, he said.

Mr. Alford, who leads the Governor's Education Finance Task Force, asked the more than 2,000 people participating in the meeting to list the indicators that should be used to measure educational excellence.

By determining how excellence will be measured, the state can better set education goals and better fund programs to attain those goals.

"We want results that are more than just adequate," Mr. Alford said.

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Thomson Elementary Principal Dr. Donald Davis talks with other participants in the teleconference.

At Thomson High, more than 100 meeting attendees, mostly educators, split into 13 groups. The groups discussed and listed indicators they felt best measured educational excellence.

"I'm encouraged that (state officials) want to look at programs that are getting results," Thomson Elementary School Assistant Principal Beth Newton said.

Each groups suggestions were then posted on online and will be examined by the task force at its next meeting in mid February, task force member and Warren County Board of Education Chairwoman Gwen Tucker said.

"This meeting provided a wealth of information that will help us with our task of exploring better funding methods and determining the best practices for our schools," she said.

"Ultimately, we hope all of this will improve student achievement."



Web posted on Thursday, February 3, 2005











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