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Warren BOE members make public input policy change

Warren County Board of Education members voted to reduce the amount of time for public input on policy changes - and continued to fret over signing the school system's ethics policy - during their regular meeting Monday night in Warrenton.

The moves come in the midst of a visit by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools investigators, who spent much of Monday and Tuesday interviewing school officials, school board members, local reporters and members of the public.

At issue Monday night were two policies, called BD and BH.

Policy BD specifies the amount of time parents, community members and the Georgia School Board Association are given to review and respond before a policy change takes effect. Prior to Monday's meeting, the policy allowed for 60 days. However, Board Chairman Clara Roberts and board member Charles Culver asked that the board revert to the 2000 version of the policy, which allowed for only 30 days.

Warren County Schools Superintendent Carole Jean Carey recommended board members - in the interest of ensuring the public is properly educated about the policy changes - keep the 60-day window.

Board members Randy Morris and Gwendloyn Tucker voted for Mrs. Carey's recommendation, while Mrs. Roberts, Dr. Culver and board member Cecil Brown voted to change the policy to 30 days.

Meanwhile, board members also split on the discussion of the school system's ethics pledge and policy. Since January, Mrs. Roberts, Dr. Culver and Mr. Brown have refused to sign the policy, saying they believed the document was "unconstitutional."

Since then, board attorney Scott Dishman has said the document is constitutional, but the board members have still not signed it.

Monday night, Mrs. Roberts and Dr. Culver asked that the ethics pledge be removed from the school policy. Board members then heatedly discussed the policy and various ways to amend it, leaving the ethics code but removing the pledge and a line about sanctions if the policy is not followed.

Board members plan to make more revisions to the ethics policy at future meetings.

Web posted on Thursday, June 25, 2009

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