Board of Education meets Town Hall

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 28, 2001

Members of the Town Hall Meeting group have approached the Butler County Board of Education with several issues of concern, including the formation of a parent-teacher organization and education of the Lee v. Macon case of 1968.

Representatives of the group attended the board meeting Thursday night and addressed the board about the formation of a parent-teacher organization and education of the Lee v. Macon case of 1968.

Roberta Franklin from Montgomery was the appointed spokesperson for Parents Fighting Back Against Child Abuse and the group, Town Hall Meeting.

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&uot;We formed a Town Hall Meeting in Montgomery that has been very effective in dealing with commissions there and the lack of communication,&uot; said Franklin. &uot;Hopefully, this will be a way that we can address our public officials and they can in turn address us. A lot of times in meetings such as this, you are pretty much limited in what you can say so we formed a town hall meeting where you can come and be asked questions by the community.&uot;

Franklin said there were many issues that the group wanted to address, but were limited to what could be said. One issue that Franklin touched on was the absence of a Parent-Teacher Organization in Butler County.

&uot;We come before you tonight to ask for the board’s help in any way that you can in the formation of a P.T.O.,&uot; she said.

&uot;We think they are very, very effective and we told the parents it looks good to have a P.T.O., and not to just come when there’s a problem. We're asking the board tonight if you would help in anyway if parents come forward in the formation of a P.T.O.&uot;

Another issue Franklin brought before the board was the case Lee. v. Macon. She challenged board members to get the case out in the schools because a provision of it states that parents must be aware of any special programs that the school offers.

The provision states, &uot;The Board shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that all parents and students in the Butler County school system, and particularly African-American students, are informed of the nature of, benefits of, the application and selections processes, admission criteria or course prerequisites for, and all applicable deadlines for each special program, and in particular, all high school academic programs. The Board shall make a written record of all such steps taken. The Board, through its guidance counselors, shall send written notices containing the information set forth to all parents at least once each year, and shall disseminate such information at appropriate public meetings (such as Parent/Teacher Organizations (PTO) meetings and at locations familiar and accessible to the local African-American community) at a convenient time and location.&uot;

Franklin also asked for the board to make copies available to the parents at the school or set up a workshop where they could be educated on the case. She also stated that some do not know the steps involved in the chain of action concerning the disciplinary action.

Rudy McCrory, president of the Butler County Board of Education, told Franklin that she had exceeded her time limit of five to nine minutes.

&uot;You need to come to our Town Hall Meeting so we can address you,&uot; Franklin said.

Also on the agenda was discussion of the Children Internet Protection Act. Bob Carty, of Technology To Go, has been working with the Butler County Board of Education for almost nine months on the school system's computer networks.

Last year, the federal government passed the Children's Internet Protection Act, which requires school systems to have some way of monitoring and filtering information that comes into the schools if the schools are to receive federal funding.

&uot;We've been working with the wide area network and the internet in particular. The Butler County Board of Education for the next three years has received ERATE funding which has allowed this particular community to buy equipment with matching funds at the rate of 87 percent from the federal government with local matching funds of 13 percent which has been generated through grants,&uot; said Carty. &uot;You are also going to receive money for this fourth year from ERATE funding.&uot;

&uot;This is the final step in that process,&uot; said Carty. &uot;We have in place software called surf control and it has been in place for seven months now. The purpose of the software is to block all pornography and chat rooms from the schools.&uot;

One question asked was how effective the software is in reducing pornography. Carty said, &uot;The software is 100 percent effective in reducing pornography.&uot;

Dr. Mike Reed then presented to the board the resignations and employment/transfers, which the board approved.

&uot;How many of these are minorities?&uot; asked Board Member Dennis Phillips asked, Reed listed the new hires that are minorities ,and told the board that for the first time Greenville High School would have a minority guidance counselor.

The board also:

approved advertising for low bids for bread and milk for child nutrition program for 2001-2002;

awarded the bid for fuel for school buses to Middleton Oil Company;

renewed the membership for the National School Board Association membership;

approved the extension to Superintendent Dr. Mike Reed's contract.