Schools expect good report after state visit

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 2, 2006

The state department of education will be in Butler County this week to monitor the schools and officials are confident the system will receive a good report.

According to Wayne Boswell, administrative assistant for operations, Alabama school systems are visited once every five years by the state for a week of comprehensive monitoring.

&#8220They'll be looking at every facet of the school system, except special education which follows under separate guidelines,” said Boswell.

Boswell said the team from Montgomery would total between 13 and 15 people, all experts in a given field of school administration. Some facets of Butler County schools under review include the schools' career tech curriculum, transportation system, child nutrition programs and general school safety procedures, said Boswell.

&#8220For example, one requirement of the state is that we conduct a fire drill at each school once per month,” he said. &#8220They'll be ensuring that everything is documented to indicate we have followed that procedure.”

The monitoring team will also play particular attention to the schools' curriculum, said Boswell.

&#8220They'll be reviewing our schedules and looking at what subjects we teach to ensure it meets state guidelines,” he said.

Boswell said the team would spend a Tuesday at the central office before moving to the to schools in Greenville, Georgiana and McKenzie for the rest of the week.

A transportation official will observe how the school buses load and unload for safety at each school, said Boswell.

&#8220We're also required to hold bus evacuation drills,” he said. &#8220Our drivers go over certain situations with students, such as what to do if the bus flips over. We try not to scare them, but at the same time we want to be prepared for any emergency.”

Boswell said he knew the state would find one fault with the county's school system and that would be the number of bus mechanics on staff. Currently, he said, the system has two mechanics to service a fleet of 43 full-time buses, with 12 in reserve. He said the state requires one mechanic for every 20 buses.

&#8220We know we're going to take a hit there, but we're unable to do anything about it at this time,” he said. &#8220We're one person shot, but that's because of a pay issue.”

Boswell said the school system would be allowed to do an on-spot correction of any citation received during the monitoring process. Schools are also allowed up to 10 days to correct a deficiency after the initial review by the state, said Boswell.

For deficiencies unable to be corrected in a short time period, the state prepares a corrective action plan for the problem which schools are required to complete within six months.