Parents Want School Board Chair to Step Down

By: Whitney Holmes
By: Whitney Holmes

School Superintendent Scottie Griffin's budget proposal has been very controversial, in particular her desire to eliminate physical education teachers and guidance counselors in exchange for more administrators.

After meeting with principals, Griffin has since revised the budget and the school board will look at the revised version Tuesday, February 15th.

Some parents don't care about what changes are made; they want the budget scrapped altogether. Others are calling for the entire school board to be scrapped.

A letter has been circulating from parent to parent which says Griffin's proposal, "redirects money from the front line of teachers and intervention programs into a top heavy central office administration." They feel the board has avoided this issue and therefore concerned parents, in form of a letter, are calling for chair Dede Smith to step down.

Parents charge the chair with not publicly addressing Griffin's proposal to eliminate physical education teachers and guidance counselors in return for more administrators.

"The school board is refraining from letting us know what their intentions are," said parent Mary Susan Payne. "They are letting us down."

Dr. Bill Igbani from the School Board said Smith is just doing her job and can't speak to parents for the board until the board reaches a consensus.

He said, "Dede is not the principal or superintendent. She cannot speak until we have a consensus."

Furthermore, Igbani said parents are upset because they're misinformed. "They are angry, but they do not have adequate information. They are getting their information from the wrong sources."

Payne, who sat on the school board for eight years, doesn't want this budget to go any further.

"I think they should freeze the budget as it is now," stated Payne.

Igbani said change in the programs is needed to address the failure in the schools, e.g. in mathematics and English that have been ignored for decades. He applauds what Griffin is doing and believes it's necessary to meet "No Child Left Behind" standards. In particular, Clark Elementary did not meet the standards; therefore Clark students now have a choice to be bussed to other schools.

Payne doesn't think taking teachers from the front line is the way to meet these standards.

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