Tag Archives: Lowndes County Board of Education

Lowndes School Board raises millage, balances budget, publishes summary

Not two, but three public hearings on the LCBOE higher millage rate, 10 AM and 6 PM on July 15, 6 PM on July 22. That rate still puts Lowndes in the middle of school millage for counties statewide. And they published a budget summary before the hearings.

Kristin Finney wrote for the VDT today, Lowndes schools approves budget: System ups millage rate, picked up by AP as Lowndes schools approves budget, Continue reading

School Board Candidates at VSU @ YR 2014-05-15

Here are videos of the school board candidates from the “debate” of last Tuesday at VSU. Remember, this school board election will be decided tomorrow, Tuesday May 20th, unless there’s a runoff for some seat, so tomorrow is the day to vote.

This is everything they said at VSU, except some of the answers to the first question, since I was late from the Lowndes County Commission meeting; sorry about that.

District 1: the incumbent, Mike Davis, spoke, and challenger Bobby Watford was absent.

District 2: the incumbent Fred Wetherington, has chosen not to run. All three candidates for this open seat spoke: Eric Johnson, Tara Parker, and Mark Barber. And here are videos when all three of the District 2 candidates also spoke:

District 3: the incumbent, Brian Browning, is running unopposed, and did not speak at VSU.

Here’s a video playlist of the school board candidates at VSU, followed by links to each of the videos. As usual, anyone may use these videos, provided they cite the source, Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).

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Joint Resolution in Support of Quality Public Education —Lowndes and Valdosta Boards of Education

Yesterday I asked But what does the joint resolution actually say? Karen Noll has supplied the answer, in the form of a PDF of the signed resolution, transcribed below. This thing makes the education paragraph in the Occupy Valdosta Mission Statement sound mild-mannered. We’ve already seen the state’s response. -jsq

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GA State attorney general tries to order private citizens not to oppose charter school amendment

Pushers of the charter school amendment must be desperate! Blurring the line between public officials and private citizens, state Attorney General Sam Olens wrote:

Local school boards do not have the legal authority to expend funds or other resources to advocate or oppose the ratification of a constitutional amendment by the voters. They may not do this directly or indirectly through associations to which they may belong….

As Jim Galloway wrote yesterday for the AJC in Sam Olens orders local school boards to stay out of charter school fight,

That means organizations like the Georgia School Boards Association, and perhaps, the Georgia School Superintendents Association, would be barred from speaking out against the proposed constitutional amendment.

And would that include organizations like PAGE, which produced the slides that a local middle school teacher used last week? What about that teacher, or Dr. Troy Davis, speaking a few weeks earlier, both on their own time?

Olens’ letter would apply to what the VDT said was in the VBOE and LCBOE joint resolution, at least the part about “The resolution explicitly states that the boards are asking voters to not support the Constitutional Amendment relative to state charter schools.”

But what does Olens mean, duly elected local school boards don’t have authority to express opinions about educational matters that would directly affect the people who elected them?

Why has Sam Olens suddenly gotten religion about this now, after he was silent last year when both VBOE and LCBOE adopted resolutions against the school “unification” referendum? Where was he when both boards of education hosted numerous forums opposing consolidation?

Will he next be telling the Valdosta City Council it can’t pass a resolution opposing a referendum? What exactly is the difference between that elected body and an elected school board as far as expressing such an opinion? And all of those resolutions were non-binding opinions.

Will Sam Olens next be telling the VDT it can’t editorialize against the charter school amendment?

How desperate are the pushers of the charter school amendment?

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Local school systems jointly oppose charter school amendment

The Valdosta Board of Education, followed by the Lowndes County Board of Education, adopted a “Charter School Amendment Resolution” or a “Joint Resolution in Support of Quality Public Education”, depending on which ones minutes you go by. What does the resolution actually say?

Brittany D. McClure wrote for the VDT 11 September 2012, School boards to adopt resolution against charter school amendment.

“The Lowndes County and Valdosta City Boards of Education request that the Governor and State Legislators commit their support to adequately fund a first-class K-12 public education for students in Lowndes County and Valdosta City and across the state of Georgia,” the resolution states.

The resolution explicitly states that the boards are asking voters to not support the Constitutional Amendment relative to state charter schools.

Valdosta Board of Education did that at their 10 September 2012 meeting:

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Agendas with board packet items: Lowndes County Board of Education

The Lowndes County Board of Education (LCBOE) often includes along with its agendas detailed information from its board packets. The Lowndes County Commission could do the same.

Here’s their November FY2012 Finance Report in their 12 December 2012 agenda. Sometimes they even include details of items for their executive sessions, as in Personnel recommendations attached to that same agenda.

The Valdosta Board of Education (VBOE) does the same thing. Here’s a football ticket proposal and a Coke contract from VBOE’s 27 February 2012 agenda; also health insurance cost information. That particular agenda has several more financial documents attached.

Both LCBOE and VBOE use eboardsolutions.com. Other companies sell other products that facilitate posting board agendas and minutes.

Travis County, Texas, which includes packet items with its agendas, appears to have constructed its own website. Travis County adds videos after the meetings. I bet they’d tell other local governments how they do it.

So there’s part of a spectrum of solutions to posting board packet items online with agendas: use a turnkey cloud solution, or roll your own.

The Lowndes County Commission could pick a solution, and inform the public about what they are doing by putting agenda packets online with their agendas.








Media flap over Lowndes grading

Interesting timing, the Chamber deciding to pay off CUEE’s debts from pushing school consolidation, followed shortly by a media campaign to discredit the Lowndes School System.
17 January 2012:
Chamber of Commerce board decides to repay CUEE’s outstanding vendor debts in exchange for owning CUEE’s education document.
3 February 2012:
Maureen Downey blogged for the AJC, No zeros in school any longer. But aren’t there well deserved zeros? Despite admitting that the Lowndes school grading policy is a common practice in many systems and is intended to make sure students actually learn, she ends with this spin:
But aren’t there well deserved zeros?

I would argue that middle school teachers have some students who simply don’t do the work. They get it; they just don’t do it. The Lowndes policy calls for multiple interventions for obdurate students, but wouldn’t a zero make an important statement?

How else do adolescents learn that there are consequences for failure to comply with assignments? In the classroom, it is a zero. In the workplace, it is termination.

3 February 2012:
Lowndes School System Superintendent Dr. Steve Smith explained Lowndes grading policies, including this bit:
The Lowndes County Schools recently released grading guidelines for parents to clarify what has been our current practice on reporting of grades and to reaffirm our commitment to mastery learning by all students. For the past year and a half, our practice in grades 3-8 has been….
The point being that this is not a new policy.
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Video meetings like Lowndes Board of Education? —John S. Quarterman @ LCC 7 November 2011

After apologizing for setting off a flash earlier, I recommended the county video their own meetings, so they wouldn’t have to depend on amateurs.
Lowndes County Board of Education had an open forum about school consolidation. and they had their own person videoing the whole thing, and it ended up on the web in a day or two, which means that everyone in the county could see what was going on….
Chairman Paulk:
We get enough of that for free.


I’ll send you a bill!
The Chairman nodded, so I’ll take that for approval of billing by LAKE.

Here’s the video: Continue reading

Taxation without Representation —John S. Quarterman @ LCBOE 4 Oct 2011

As my mother, who used to teach at Pine Grove Elementary School (not a High School at that time), used to say, it takes a big man to admit it when he’s wrong, and Fred Wetherington is a big man
because he thought it was a good idea. He looked at the evidence; he looked at the research; and determined it was not a good idea.

I look forward to the members of CUEE standing up and being big men and women because the research, their own research, and the research that we’ve heard tonight, the research from Tennessee, and the research from Troup County: consolidation is not a good idea.

And I’m still waiting for some CUEE big men or women….

Anyway, my question: Continue reading

What will happen to programs and SPLOST? —Sam Allen @ LCBOE 4 October 2011

Sam Allen offered his head as a crystal ball. Dr. Smith replied it wasn’t clear enough. Everybody laughed at that as this video started, in which Allen, president of Friends of Valdosta City Schools (FVCS), and former superintendent of Valdosta City Schools, asked several questions, most of which Dr. Smith would have had to have had a crystal ball to answer. The questions included what will happen to certain programs, and what will happen to Valdosta School SPLOST funds.

Lowndes County School System Attorney Warren Turner did clarify a bit of what would happen if consolidation passes:

If consolidation occurs, there is no such thing as the Valdosta City School System, from the date the Georgia Secretary of State approves it.

Once they certify the election, there is no central office of the Valdosta City School System. There is a property located on William Street that is part of the Lowndes County School System….

The real question is where would the funds desginated for those facilities go, and can you even spend it? Tax Commissioner doesn’t know; Attorney General doesn’t know; and we don’t know.

Sam Allen joked:
CUEE, they probably know.
Everybody thought that was pretty funny.

Here’s the video:

What will happen to programs and SPLOST? —Sam Allen @ LCBOE 4 October 2011
Why we oppose consolidation,
Community Forum, Lowndes County Board of Education (LCBOE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 4 October 2011.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.