Category Archives: Bibb County

Bibb County Opposes State Takeover of Their Failing Schools

Bibb County School District consists of 40 schools (25 Elementary Schools, 8 Middle Schools, and 7 High Schools). According to the most recent list of list of schools eligible for the Opportunity School District (OSD), one in every three schools has been failing for the last 3+ years and are on the list for state takeover.
The Macon Telegraph is reporting that instead of improving their schools, the Bibb County school board is joining the opposition to Gov. Nathan Deal’s Opportunity School District proposal.  “No matter what the challenges might be, they are ours,” says former board President Thelma Dillard. “This is our family.”

The Bibb County school board is prepared to join the opposition to Gov. Nathan Deal’s Opportunity School District proposal.

Approved by the state Legislature, the Opportunity School District would allow the state to take over as many as 20 schools per year that are deemed to be failing based on College and Career Ready Performance Index scores. The Bibb board is expected to vote on a resolution opposing the measure next month after several members spoke out against Deal’s plan at the board’s regular meeting Thursday.

“I really believe schools do the best when they have local control and local accountability,” board Treasurer Daryl Morton said.

Recently, teachers organizations at the state and local level expressed their opposition to the plan, which will come before Georgia voters on the Nov. 8 ballot. Board Vice President Jason Downey said he was concerned that the expected “disingenuous” wording of the ballot item would mislead voters into thinking the Opportunity School District was something other than what it was.

“That’s why I think it’s important we do something,” Downey said.

In addition to concerns about what would happen to facilities, faculty and leadership if a school was taken over, board members said local officials would have the best chance of resolving local issues.

“Whoever sits on this board is going to know better what the students of Bibb County need,” said Downey, whose tenure on the board will end in December.

Former board President Thelma Dillard, recently re-elected for another term on the board, said it was “unrealistic” to think the state could resolve issues at struggling schools. Any school that has scored less than 60 on the 100-point CCRPI scale for three straight years would be eligible for the list, which would currently include nine Bibb County schools.

“No matter what the challenges might be, they are ours,” Dillard said. “This is our family.”

Board member Tom Hudson agreed with his colleagues in opposing the takeover plan, but he said he would be “remiss” not to note that Bibb County’s schools must achieve at a higher rate. Graduation rates have been on the rise recently, but the district had nine of the 10 Middle Georgia schools on the list for three straight sub-60 CCRPI scores.

“It’s a challenge for us to do better,” Hudson said.

At Thursday’s meeting, the board also voted to form a committee to discuss the name for the combined Northeast High School and Appling Middle School campus on the current Northeast site. The project is expected to cost about $35 million in ESPLOST funding and be completed in the next two years.

Board President Lester Miller said he expected member Ella Carter and representatives from each school would serve on the committee, and other community members would also be brought in for discussions about the name.

“We will be very inclusive,” Miller said.

The board also approved about $786,000 in new playground equipment for 11 elementary schools — Bernd, Burdell-Hunt, Carter, Hartley, Porter, Skyview, Springdale, Taylor, Union and Williams.

The next meeting of the Bibb County school board is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 16, with the committee meeting set for 4 p.m.


School 2013 CCRPI 2014 CCRPI 2015 CCRPI
Appling Middle School (Bibb) 56.1 55.5 51.1
Ballard-Hudson Middle School (Bibb) 51 49.2 47
Brookdale Elementary School (Bibb) 59.2 51 54.3
Bruce Elementary School (Bibb) 58.3 50 48.1
Hartley Elementary School (Bibb) 55.3 55.9 55.9
Ingram-Pye Elementary School (Bibb) 54.5 45.9 55.5
Riley Elementary School (Bibb) 50.9 54.1 57
Southwest High School (Bibb) 42.3 54 58.2
Williams Elementary School (Bibb) 55.9 57.2 57.1
Twiggs County High School 48.3 57.9 59.9

* Data from 2015-16 school year has not been released

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Filed under Bibb County, Georgia Education, Opportunity School District

Bibb school system has more to worry about than Gov. Deal

When Gov. Nathan Deal was running for re-election last year, he promised his focus would sit on education. While many may not like how he’s focused on education, he is keeping his promise. The General Assembly has given approval to his constitutional amendment proposal that, if approved by voters, will allow the state the authority to take over troubled schools (defined as scoring less than 60 on the College and Career Ready Performance Index for three consecutive years). There are 139 such schools in the state out of 2,184.

If the measure is approved in November 2016, the state will set up an “Opportunity School District” patterned after similar initiatives in Louisiana and Tennessee. The Opportunity School District will have its own superintendent answerable only to the governor. The state district would take over 20 schools per year with a maximum of 100. Bibb County has 10.07 percent of the state’s failing schools. While having 14 schools targeted by the governor is horrible, Atlanta Public Schools have 27 on the list and DeKalb County has 25. Those figures should give no comfort. Atlanta Public Schools have 101 facilities, and 26 percent are listed as failing. De­Kalb has 133 schools, and 19 percent are failing. Thirty-four percent of Bibb’s schools are in the failing category.

Will the new Opportunity School District sweep into Macon? Time is on our side. The earliest such a district could get started is the 2017-18 school year. That gives new Superintendent Curtis Jones time to turn those schools around, but there is a more pressing issue staring the Bibb County school board in the face than the governor. AdvancED, the accrediting institution, gave the system 24 months to clean up its governance act. Time has just about run out. The board’s homework assignment, fixing the governance and leadership issues, is incomplete as of this writing.

While some on the board believe Bibb could become a national model for other districts that find themselves sideways with AdvancED, that’s hard to conceive. The new incomplete board handbook is a hand-me-down from DeKalb County that was borrowed from an Austin, Texas, district. We guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but it’s nowhere near innovative. Other board members think AdvancED will give the district a pass because the work is in progress.

We don’t understand the distinction the board uses to differentiate between items that are “incomplete” and those that are a “work in progress.” Either way, the homework isn’t finished, and there’s not a dog around to blame for eating it.

By Telegraph Editorial Board
MACON.com

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Filed under Bibb County, Legislation, Nathan Deal, Opportunity School District