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Public meetings on proposed school governance changes to be held

Two public meetings on proposed changes to school system governance will be held beginning tomorrow, March 17, following action taken by the Grady County Board of Education during a called meeting Tuesday morning.
At the 7 a.m. meeting, Dr. Kermit Gilliard, superintendent of the Grady County School System, explained changes made to Charter Systems and Strategic Waivers School Systems.
Grady County Board of Education members who participated in a Georgia School Boards Association conference in December had learned about the modifications proposed at the state level.
Based on those changes, Gilliard recommended the board rescind its previous approval to apply to become a Charter System and notify the state board of education of the local board’s intention to pursue a Strategic Waivers School System contract.
Board members stated that it was their opinion this action would be in the best interest of the stakeholders of the Grady County School System.
Public meetings to explain the changes and the board’s action will be held Thursday, March 17 at 4 p.m. and on Tuesday, March 22 at 6 p.m., both sessions to be held at the VanLandingham Center, 200 N. Broad St.
“Anyone interested in learning more about Strategic Waivers School Systems, or the difference between a SWSS and a Charter School System is invited to attend one of the upcoming scheduled meetings,” Dr. Gilliard said.
Superintendent Gilliard and Assistant Superintendents Laura Elliott and Kevin Strickland met with school principals last Wednesday and plan to meet on Thursday with representatives from the elementary and middle schools to review priorities for the school system and to determine the waivers that will be needed to meet the needs of the students and system over the next five years.
The conversion to a Strategic Waivers School System will not include Cairo High School.  CHS is currently a Charter School and, according to Dr. Gilliard, when it is time to renew the charter with the state, the Charter Governing Board and the Grady County Board of Education will have to determine if CHS will reapply to remain a Charter School or if it will join the system as a Strategic Waivers School.
“I want to make sure that the decision that we make is the best decision for our students. I am confident, based on the current information, Strategic Waivers School System is the best option for the children of Grady County. Over the next two weeks we will determine the waivers we need from state law and state board of education rules that will or may hinder us from providing the best education to our students and will request that those laws/rules be waived. We will not be able to waive any Federal law or State law that pertains to health and safety,” Dr. Gilliard said.

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