Houston County school Superintendent Mark Scott talked Thursday about a handful of education-related issues ranging from too much testing to the school system’s budget.
“We’re very proud of our school district, and I’m very proud to be able to serve as superintendent of schools for Houston County,” Scott said. “I enjoy the relationship I have with you. I really appreciate the support that you give the school system.”
Speaking to the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce at the Museum of Aviation Thursday morning during an Eggs and Issues event, Scott acknowledged the school systems had some hiccups in administering the state-mandated Student Learning Objective test for the first time last year.
“We had an issue with the (SLOs) this past year,” he said.
At the end of the 2014-15 school year, outraged parents flooded social media sites with complaints that the new tests -- which count for 20 percent of students’ final grades -- significantly dropped students’ GPAs and would have prohibited some from graduating. Parents even created an online petition to not count the scores.
Following the backlash, Scott omitted the scores and said Thursday he thinks that decision was “best for students.”
Scott added some of his own concerns about too much testing in general.
“We’re spending a whole lot of time testing and not enough time teaching,” he said.
Another talking point for the Houston County superintendent was about the district’s budget, which he said is a little more than $236 million.
Scott said he has heard from some in the community who have mentioned there are “too many administrators” within the school system, but he also said, “our job (as administrators) is to make sure the students are getting what they need to be successful, not only in schools, but in life.”
He added, “When you look at our budget, we spend just about 90 percent of our budget on salaries,” adding that most of those salaries are for teachers.
“The reason that our system is successful is none other than we have great teachers,” he said.
Commenting on Scott’s speech, April Bragg, president and CEO of the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce, said, “Dr. Scott always brings refreshing comments about the happenings in the Houston County school system. It’s exciting to see the projects that are in the wings for Houston County.”
Bragg and her family -- which includes a second- and third-grade student in the school system -- recently made the transition to Houston this past summer.
The experience she and her family have had for the first two and half weeks of school, she said, has been “tremendously positive.”
“The quality of the Houston County school system is definitely attributable, not only to (Scott’s) leadership, but the quality educators and administrators that are in the Houston County system,” Bragg said. “I think we’ll continue to fuel the excellence that we see coming out of Houston County schools every year.”
Scott also briefly talked about the school district’s enrollment, which is just past the 28,000 mark this year, and the millage rate, which he said is “one of the lowest” in the state.
“The reason we can be successful with our public schools is because we live in a community that supports the public education for all students,” Scott said.
To contact writer David Schick, call 744-4382 or find him on Twitter@davidcschick.