The Bibb County school district will be measured on a brand new component during its upcoming review. Accreditation agency AdvancED is scheduled to visit the district Oct. 1-4, said Lori Rodgers, assistant superintendent for district effectiveness and federal programs.
Jay Wansley, associate director of AdvancED Georgia, led board members and central office staff in a work session Tuesday night on the new accreditation element, board governance. Bibb County will be the second school district ever to go through this new rubric, although it won’t be a part of the accreditation decision this year.
The component will measure how board practices support the district’s continuous improvement plans. It will look at the relationship between the superintendent and board members. An evaluator will sit in on a Board of Education meeting prior to the October review to asses the physical setting, meeting protocol, leadership, learning and resources.
“I like it when I see boards that are well-informed about their process,” Wansley told the board. “What I know tells me you will do well is the planning that has went into this.”
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During the on-site review in October, AdvancED’s engagement review team will tour schools, observe classroom instruction and interview stakeholders. The agency will be looking for consistency and what kind of results Bibb County is seeing, Rodgers said. The comprehensive report should come back the first week of November, Wansley said.
“They’re looking to see if we have a continuous improvement process in what we’re doing, and how we’re monitoring schools, allocating resources and communicating to stakeholders,” Rodgers said.
AdvancED placed the Bibb County school district on warning after a review in May 2013. Problems were cited in the areas of governance and leadership, teaching and assessing for learning, and resources and support systems, and the district was given two years to show improvement, according to previous Telegraph articles. Board members addressed the issues, and AdvancED updated the district’s status to “accredited” in July 2015.
“We have made great strides,” Rodgers said. “Since the focus now with AdvancED is continuous improvement, it’s an opportunity for us to actually show that we have plans in place and we are actually working our plans. We have evidence that we are working toward greater performance for our school and our students within our schools.”
Also Tuesday, the Board of Education set the millage rate at 19.814. It has been rolled back from the 2016-17 rate of 19.945 to reflect increases in the latest tax digest.
The Facility and Technology Citizens Oversight Committee approved an additional $1.84 million in education special purpose local option sales tax funding for the new transportation/campus police facility on Cavalier Drive. The project’s total price tag has been updated to $6.84 million.
The extra expense will cover several necessary elements that were not in the original budget, including a full fueling station, according to documents from the district. The money will be reallocated from a project in previous ESLOST plans that cost less than expected, said Keith Simmons, the district’s chief of staff.
The district wants additional property for its Northeast High School and Appling Middle School complex, a $43 million project, on Upper River Road. Committee members OK’d the first step in the acquisition process.
Simmons said they don’t need a lot of extra land, just enough to provide more space for unloading and loading students and to support athletic events.
“We have what we need but it’s tight and not ideal,” he said. “We’re really just wanting to get to the point where we can have the resolution to go into negotiations.”