Planning for the new college and career academy continues with meetings being conducted with high school and middle school staff and governance teams.
School leaders are also meeting with Caterpillar to develop a communication timeline for CAT internships for summer 2014. Assistant superintendent Dr. Sherrie Gibney-Sherman told county school board members Tuesday that the timeline of work includes the implementation of 13 different courses for fall 2013 and getting ready for enrollment in additional courses for fall 2014.
Madison County was awarded a $3.65 million grant in 2012 to develop a regional advanced agriculture-industry college and career academy
In other business, the board of education (BOE) heard that the county’s special education services were ranked number one by parents of students in the classes, receiving a 74 percent approval rating among those who participated in the survey. This was the highest score, and the highest parent participation rate in the Northeast Georgia RESA (Regional Education Services Agency) area.
In state news, superintendent Dr. Allen McCannon told the board that Madison County is the seventh hardest hit district in the state in QBE (Quality Basic Education) austerity cuts, which averages a $794 cut per student per school year for the county.
McCannon said that overall, the state is spending $1 billion less each year than the QBE formula calls for.
In additional news, assistant superintendent Bonnie Knight told the board that the school system is receiving a $20 - $35,000 decline in average revenue from SPLOST each month. She said 2013 is on track to be the lowest in revenue in at least the last four years, but she said the school system is “fine” for its debt service payments until at least June, 2017.
“We will continue to watch it,” she said, adding that the board’s good stewardship of the money will likely still allow enough for not only new construction, but much-needed roof repairs on a number of buildings.
School leaders also noted that Madison County High School students scored above both the state and national average in the number of students receiving a “3” or better on this year’s Advanced Placement (AP) test scores for colleges. AP tests are graded on a five-point scale, with ‘5’ being the highest; a ‘3’ is considered a passing score on the tests.
“Sixty-five percent scored a ’3’ or better, and that’s something to be proud of,” Gibney-Sherman said, adding that that’s a 45 percent increase over the 20 percent scoring a ‘3’ or above in 2009. She pointed out that the school system now has the potential to offer 16 AP courses on campus.
“This is a very deliberate effort on our part to improve our offerings for students,” Gibney-Sherman said.
“We’re clearly making a difference in our students,” said McCannon said.