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School board has first planning meeting

The McDuffie County Board of Education met for almost four hours Tuesday morning, their first planning meeting to be held on a Tuesday. Last month, the board decided to begin holding planning sessions on Tuesday and regular sessions on Thursday to give the members ample time to "digest" the information given before casting a vote.

During the meeting, a presentation was given by Assistant Superintendent Jim Franklin to inform the new board members of the responsibilities of the office of administrative services.

Other presentations included a report from Ombudsman Educational Service officials, a report on the findings of a Georgia Assessment for Performance on School Standards at Thomson High School, Thomson Elementary School and Norris Elementary School, an informative presentation about Release Time Bible Education and a SPLOST IV report.

All the presentations were for information purposes only, and required no vote from the board. At their regular meeting tonight, the board will vote on a Title 20 Waiver resolution, wording on transitional course of study diplomas and personnel recommendations.

The school system needs to apply for a Title 20 Waiver from the State Board of Education to receive Middle School Program weight funding for the eighth grade at Thomson-McDuffie Junior High School. The waiver is for SBOE Rule 160-4-2-.05, which stipulates that eighth grade must be housed in the same building as sixth and seventh grades, and if not done so, then a separate principal must be employed for the grade to receive middle school funding.

Superintendent Mark Petersen said O.C.G.A.20-2-244 allows provisions for the waiver, and the local system should have no problem, because TMJH has one principal for grades eight and nine and separate assistant principals for each grade.

"Other systems are doing the same thing, for example Rabun and White counties have sixth graders in their elementary school," he said.

The waiver must be applied for every year, but costs no money to do so.

The wording on the transitional course of study diplomas is required by the Office for Civil Rights, and will make the school system in compliance with the Title II American Disabilities Act. The change will require a new printing of the diplomas, which are printed at Southern Engraving, with contracts with Balfour.

Thursday night's meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Central Board Office.

Web posted on Thursday, February 12, 2009

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