Thursday, the Bibb County school board will decide whether to stop busing students who attend the system’s magnet schools.
Eliminating the routes would require about 350 students to find their own transportation to and from school. Hutchings Career Center students would not be affected.
Acting Superintendent Sylvia McGee said the transportation department had reviewed its services for the past two years and tried to address issues.
Of the 137 current routes, some are overcrowded and some under-utilized. A number of buses run late each day, with dozens of students arriving an average of 18 minutes late.
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“We have principals who call on a daily basis about late buses,” McGee said. “When people say we have buses that are not full, that would be a true statement, depending on the route.”
The average cost for a regular route per school year is $37,230. A route for transfer students is $58,660.
McGee recommended as part of the 2011 budget eliminating five systemwide routes, eliminating six shuttle buses and converting some routes to save $531,294.
“If parents had the luxury of taking them there, I’m sure they would,” board member Tom Hudson said. “I think all kids should have equal access to the (magnet) programs.”
Board member Susan Middleton said transportation as a whole needs to be addressed if students systemwide are arriving late and missing instruction.
“We are in a time when schools are being judged on standardized tests,” Middleton said. “If children are missing ... instruction they are not going to perform well.”
McGee said clearly transportation issues have to be addressed “one way or the other.”
City of Macon to award 15 Mercer scholarships
The City of Macon will award 15 scholarships worth $2,000 each for recent high school graduates accepted to Mercer University in the fall. The scholarships are also open to current Mercer students.
Students must live within the city limits to be eligible.
Applications can be found at cityofmacon.net/2010-mercer-scholarship or at City Hall in the city council office. Deadline to return applications to the city is close of business June 25. For more information, contact 751-7260.
WR mom addresses BOE after missing son’s graduation
A Warner Robins mother who missed her son’s graduation from Northside High School last month told the Houston County Board of Education to make sure parents in the future don’t have the same experience she did.
At the board’s work session last week, Gwen Robbins said she arrived to the doors of the Miller-Murphy-Howard Building at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, where the graduation was held, about half an hour before the ceremony began.
However, she and others were turned away and told the seating was at capacity. They were then sent to an overflow room where graduation was displayed on a TV screen.
Robbins said she has since received a personal apology from Superintendent Robin Hines about the situation.
She hopes the school system will follow up by addressing the issue publicly for other parents who were also turned away from graduation ceremonies. Robbins also wants school officials to consider different arrangements for future ceremonies, such as changing the location or date, or issuing tickets to families.
While she described her son Taylor’s graduation as “a moment I can never get back,” she hopes her experience will prevent other parents from going through the same thing.
“If you don’t like it, try to make a difference,” she said. “If you can’t make a difference, say you gave it a shot.”
State labor commissioner to be CGTC commencement speaker
Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond will address graduates at Central Georgia Technical College’s commencement ceremony Wednesday.
Thurmond is serving his third term as labor commissioner and has also announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.
GCSU renames program for minority entrepreneurs
Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville has renamed its annual business ownership program to better reflect diversity among its surrounding counties and educate more youth.
Formerly known as the Black Youth in Business program, the program was renamed Minority Youth and Business to encompass all people of color.
“Our program is designed to help expand the number of minority students who will become business owners,” Georgia College President Dorothy Leland said. “Currently, minorities account for nearly 40 percent of the state’s population, but they own less than 16 percent of its businesses.”
As one of only two such programs in Georgia, MYB encourages high school students to complete college and become successful entrepreneurs.
A weeklong program was held this past week. Students worked in groups to develop business plans and presented their proposals to a panel of business owners and GCSU faculty.
The winners received a trip to San Francisco for the 2011 National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education.
This year’s roster of participants included the following schools: Baldwin High School, Central High School (Macon), Georgia Military College Prep School, John Hancock Academy (Sparta), Hancock Central High School (Sparta), Howard High School (Macon), Jones County High School, Morgan County High School, Northside High School (Warner Robins), Putnam County High School, Washington County High School and Wilkinson County High School.
Houston BOE waives staff learning requirement
The Houston County Board of Education unanimously voted to waive its policy that requires its staff to undergo a minimum period of professional learning for the upcoming year.
The policy was waived at the board’s meeting last Tuesday because of budget cuts that have led school officials to shorten the school calendar. According to the existing policy, educators are supposed to have a minimum of 21 professional learning hours every year.
Teachers will still have time for professional learning, but instead of participating in all-day sessions, they will do so for shorter periods, said James Kinchen, executive director for school operations.
The policy was also waived during the previous school year, Kinchen said.
Statewide school meetings held in Middle Georgia
Two statewide school conferences took place in Houston and Peach counties last week.
In Perry, the Georgia Conference on Teaching Writing and Reading took place last Tuesday and Wednesday at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter. The conference attendees, estimated at about 600, participated in presentations and workshops. Among the highlights were a presentation by Tony Vlachakis, a technology consultant for the Georgia Department of Education, and a session about teaching and learning in Finland.
The Byron Police Department hosted the Safety in Our Schools conference last Tuesday through Thursday at the Byron Municipal Complex.
About 350 people attended the event, according to Sara Mason, spokeswoman for the Peach County school system.
The conference, put together by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia, featured presentations about school violence at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech, as well as sessions about topics such as severe weather and emergency planning.
Compiled by Telegraph staff writers Julie Hubbard and Andrea Castillo.