Former life-long educator and District 2 Board candidate Dr. Joe Kelly addressed concerns he had about mandated school tests. Dr. Kelly spoke at the Dec. 8, Liberty County Board of Education meeting during public participation.
On March 16, 2020 Georgia was the first state to suspend standardized testing requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic school closures for the 2019-2020 school year.
However, in September U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos removed a school’s ability to request testing waivers for the 2020-2021 school year and federally mandated testing resume.
One test called the End of Course (EOC) test is required to be taken by High School Students. Parents could choose to have their children not take the test but the test also counts for 20 percent of the students’ grade.
Dr. Kelly said the burden is being placed on the BOE and the students by a government official, he didn’t name, but called uncertified in education.
“You have that mandate from Washington, from a person that knows nothing about education that we test when students have not been taught,” Dr. Kelly said. “It bothers me to no end.”
Dr. Kelly said the requirement is setting up students for failure.
Kisya Burnett, then addressed the BOE saying she was speaking on behalf of several parents and LCSS personnel who don’t think the BOE and Superintendent Dr. Franklin Perry were being transparent enough when it comes to COVID-19 exposures within the district.
She said teachers have secretly expressed their concerns to several parents because they feared that they may lose their job if they expressed their thoughts openly to Perry and the BOE.
Burnett asked why the BOE spent $56,221.97 for a new fleet vehicle, she claimed is being driven by Dr. Perry, while teachers are begging for donations on donors.org for school supplies and personal protective equipment. She asked the Board why the weekly COVID reports are not broken down by schools as had been promised during the Sept. 4, BOE meeting.
She said the BOE must be willing to be more transparent and allow LCSS staff and parents to address these concerns in an environment where they don’t feel threatened or fear retaliation.
“We have a Superintendent that has put us on mute,” Burnett said.
As of Dec. 11 the weekly COVID-19 Report stated the following:
Total Number of In-Person Learners- 4,634
Students with a Current Positive COVID-19 Status- 3
(With School-based Close Contact)
Students Quarantined as a result of School Based Contact- 116
Total Number of Staff- 1,427
Staff with a Current Positive COVID-19 Status- 3
(With School-based Close Contact)
Staff Quarantined as a Result of School-based Close Contact- 22
After public participation the BOE went into their action items on the agenda.
The board approved to award the final two years of a four year landscaping service contract to C.A. Sittle for $114,046. The original landscape company did not seek to renew their final two years of the original contract.
The board approved to execute the referendum resolution as provided which requests the election superintendent to call the referendum for ESPLOST VI, in conjunction with the school district on March 16, 2021. If passed ESPLOST VI collection period will begin in July 2022 and end in June 2027 with a fiscal impact of $54 million. ESPLOST V is set to expire June 30, 2022.
The board approved the Board meeting dates for 2021.
The board approved a new Civility Policy.