Parents address Bartow school board
by Mark Andrews
Dec 06, 2011 | 2868 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Bartow County Board of Education on Monday heard from several home school parents and one Cass High School parent concerning the system's use of contact information as well as alleged disciplinary issues at CHS.

"I wouldn't just give out information about my children to anyone, and I don't want someone else to think they have that right either," home school parent John Penn said during the board's regular work session. "I'm not accusing you of doing that, but once you step out of the guidelines that are listed, what's to prevent them from taking it a little further."

The home school parents said their contact information -- acquired through required attendance reports -- had been used in an a way inconsistent with school board policy when they were contacted by the school system regarding the expected opening of the Bartow Learning Center.

Superintendent John Harper said he would cease contacting parents directly through this method and that the contact was not intended as any sort of solicitation for funding.

"Certainly, I've worked with legal counsel throughout this whole process because I know what the law says and what our rules are, and the only thing I'm trying to do is say, 'if you home schoolers need a little more support, I think we can help you,' and I wasn't trying to offend anyone," Harper said. "My role as superintendent of Bartow County is to try and educate the kids of Bartow County, regardless of what the needs are."

The school board has shown support for the projected Bartow County Learning Center/Career Academy. Harper said he hopes for the old CHS building to be used as a supplemental learning facility for home school students and eventually as a career academy for students needing to take a non-traditional approach to graduating high school.

"We're certainly on board as a school board, we're excited about prospects about what can happen [at the old CHS], we certainly agree the leadership and staff there must have a commitment to these children to make that happen, it can't just be another job, and I can't wait to see it up and running and see kids' lives change," BCBOE President Davis Nelson said. "We either can do something now to help them be successful or we can pay for them for the rest of their lives and our lives too."

Parent April Swanson addressed the board, saying there were inconsistencies at CHS regarding how faculty and staff address parents and students regarding make-up work and disciplinary action. She also said there were similar issues at the feeder school, South Central Middle School.

"They need to listen to parents," Swanson said. "I realize they have to deal with parents that don't care more than parents that do care, but they shouldn't treat parents that do care like they're a pain in their tail."

Concerning discipline, Swanson said the degrees of punishment varied for SCMS and CHS students facing the same infraction and that some students were unfairly targeted.

In other school board news, Harper addressed the beginning of day and end of day bus route at the new Cloverleaf Elementary School, expected to open in fall 2012, citing safety concerns.

"Buses will come in from [Ga.] Highway 20 down Rolling Springs Road, they will not go back down Rolling Springs Road and exit back onto [Ga.] Highway 20 because as you get to [Ga.] Highway 20 where Rolling Springs [Road], there's a rise on the left that reduces vision ... bus traffic will go to that traffic light by Wendy's then exit onto [Ga.[ Highway 20 for safety purposes," Harper said.

The board will hold its regular business session Monday, Dec. 12, at 6 p.m. in the central office boardroom. Agenda items include requiring 5-year background checks for school employees, the 2012-2013 calendar and approving a $23.6 million bid for the construction of the new Adairsville Middle School.