For more commentary on Peach County issues, please check out Out of my Mind – Peach County Edition.
Peach County’s new Superintendent of Schools, Susan Clark, has already earned her $145,000 annual salary with her first big decision, which cleared the way for two new schools that had been delayed for more than a year by unwise Board of Education moves.
As reported by Jake Jacobs in The Macon Telegraph, the BOE voted 4-1 to accept Clark’s recommendation for a new school at the previously approved (then disapproved) site on Kay Road in Byron and a new site on University Boulevard in the Fort Valley neck of the woods. Chairwoman Norma Givens cast the only dissenting vote.
“Disputes about where to put the schools have gone on long enough,” the Telegraph quoted Clark as saying. “It’s been more than a year, and we’re not serving the children by not building a school. They need one.”
The cost will be somewhere between $22 million and $24 million, with the state promising to pitch in $5.1 million. The now rescinded BOE decision to drop the Kay Road site and a 341 site had virtually kissed off about $4.9 million. Plus, we will now have two schools under construction at the same time, whereas the previous plans begun under Chairman Bill Gresham called for the Byron area school to go up first, then the Fort Valley area school.
Clark also showed resolve, deflecting Givens’ doubts about growth in East Peach and the possibility of students spending too much time on the bus. Clark expressed a vision of improved schools attracting growth and requiring even more schools. As for possible trouble with bus routes, she simply said, “We’re too wise to let that happen.”
Indeed, the people who work in the school system every day have showed enough wisdom to get kudos from SACS, which chastised only the BOE. Is the board seeking Wisdom once again? Things look promising.
Clark showed she’s in charge; she took the rare but permitted step of calling a meeting herself. As Jake reported, Givens claimed only the chairperson can call a meeting, but the board’s policy manual (available here) states that any three board members or the superintendent can call a meeting.
Clark can call a meeting a week if she deems it necessary, as long as she keeps winning for the students.