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School Board outlines its five-year plan

October 18, 2000

School Board outlines its five-year plan



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer


The Washington County School Board outlined its six goals in a five-year plan starting in 2001 before staff, community members and business leaders at the Chamber of Commerce's State of Education Forum Wednesday morning at the Ramada Inn.

The goals focus on student achievement, the budget, teacher quality, community engagement, safe schools and technology.

School Board President Paul Bailey said the plan was the outcome of a Board of Education retreat in June 1999. The goals were further developed during the 1999-2000 school year.

"We think that the goals have vision," Bailey said. "They tend to be a little futuristic, and we certainly hope that they are."

Bailey said the plan was established to "look beyond" the future of education in Washington County.

Each of the School Board members spoke about the six goals.

Here are some of the goals' objectives:

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HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Meet or exceed state and national averages on the SAT, ACT, PSAT and AP exams each year.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Increase the number of schools achieving excellence on the MSPAP each year.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Restore by 2 percent per year the percentage of county funds dedicated to education until cost per pupil equals wealth per pupil.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Increase to $6.5 million per year the local funding for necessary capital improvements.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Increase grant funding to the school system by 2 percent per year.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Improve employee salary structures to be internally equitable and regionally competitive.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Increase average teacher salary by two ranks per year until the state average is reached.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Develop incentives and innovative hiring practices that fill critical shortage areas.

Board member Marie Byers said teachers should be supported by not only the Board of Education but by community members as well.

"Education, as you know, is really the heart of our community," Byers said. "Teachers are the heart of our success."

She said teachers and employees should be provided with professional development to keep up to date on educational trends, including new teaching methods, technology and new programs.

"Currently we have $200,000 in the budget for professional development," she said. "That's not enough. We should have several million."

Board member Herbert Hardin discussed the board's goal of making sure schools are safe from violence and said extra money would be needed to carry out the goal.

"Is that a surprise?" Hardin asked.

The Board of Education hopes to hire a a school safety expert by 2002. It also hopes a district safety plan is developed and implemented by then.

"It has great potential for the community," Bailey said of the overall plan. "But it will be necessary to revise and update it."

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