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Tight funds lead to tense BOE discussion
Teacher leadership program at heart of controversy
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What started as a fairly routine item concerning professional development for teachers quickly grew into a passionate debate among Bulloch County school board members about spending limited funds.The discussion also led to the board receiving legal advice that appeared, according to an attorney for the Georgia Press Association, to run counter to the Georgia Open Meetings Act.During its regular session Thursday evening, the Bulloch County Board of Education considered a recommendation by Superintendent Charles Wilson to allocate $132,750 to have 86 teachers participate in the Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement Base Camp and Leadership Summit this fall.Typically, school districts use federal Title II, Part A money, which can be used for professional development. But the regional program manager tasked with approving the use of these funds indicated to the Bulloch County school system that it hadn’t provided all the required documentation for the money to be used for this program.As a precaution, in case the district was not able to get approval to use the federal money, Wilson suggested the board commit to using the district’s operating funds to pay for the training.The reason, he said, was to show that the board is committed to instituting a “continuous improvement culture” from the district’s top administrators to the schools’ staff. Top administrators and some board members took part in the same institute last year, and several said the experience and insights they gained were invaluable to helping them improve how the district functions.The biggest snag is that the district is still developing its strategic plan, which Wilson said will serve as the foundation for all decisions the district makes going forward.
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