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DCSS closing 13 Saturday School programs

New Dougherty County School System Interim Title I Director David Coley announced the closure of the system’s 13 Saturday Schools, effective this weekend, saying he had concerns if the program was an allowable Title I expenditure.

New Dougherty County School System Interim Title I Director David Coley announced the closure of the system’s 13 Saturday Schools, effective this weekend, saying he had concerns if the program was an allowable Title I expenditure.

ALBANY, Ga. -- New Dougherty County School System Interim Title I Director David Coley has notified system principals and administrators that the District will be closing all 13 of its Title I Saturday Schools effective this weekend.

In an email dated March 5, Coley wrote:

"A continuing effort is being made to keep the Dougherty County School System Title I Program within the guidelines of Federal and State directives. Therefore, all Title I Saturday Schools will be discontinued for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year.

"To avoid any confusion, the date for discontinuing Saturday School will be effective Saturday, March 9, 2013. Please inform all staff that work with this program.

"The closing of our Title I Saturday School DOES NOT apply to the Flexible Learning Program.

The 13 schools affected are Jackson Heights, Albany Middle, West Town, International Studies Middle, Morningside, Monroe High, Merry Acres Middle, Radium Elementary, Dougherty Middle, Dougherty High, Alice Coachman, Southside Middle, and Northside.

The system had budgeted $106,000 of Title I funds on the Saturday Schools for FY2012-13.

"We had 13 Saturday schools going on," Coley said. "Now you have to realize that some of the expenses were not out of the Title I budget per se, but I was not happy that it appeared we weren't going to meet guidelines when we were ready to be monitored. I randomly put a finger on some student-teacher ratios and it was not giving Dougherty County the benefit for the money that was being spent. I don't want it (Saturday Schools) to be used as an attendance program just to advance students to the next grade."

Earlier this year the Georgia Department of Education placed the district at "High Risk" reimbursement status meaning all Title I expenses are subject to increased state scrutiny. If the DOE approves the expense, it will reimburse the system. If disallowed, the system will have to bear the expense.

"What I am looking at is current expenditures. If we find something that is not Title I, we're letting the district know that this expenditure is not Title I eligible," Coley, who has been on the job since last month, said. "We're trying to get back to square one where we are following the guidelines that the state has set for us and we have a DOE specialist (James Everson, Title I Education Program Specialist) here two days a week and he has been very helpful to me."

Coley, who has 12 years of experience as a Title I director, promises the system will be following the rules from now on.

"Basically we have guidelines that say how you can spend Title I money," Coley said. "For example, Title I is designed for at risk students who have difficulty in reading and math. It is designed for instruction, it's not designed for other activities such as come to school and get credit for attendance. That is a no-no. That is a violation.

"It is designed for instruction. I understand they may have been working hard but the student-to-teacher ratio was not going to look very good unless we did something. We need to get more students involved to justify the expense."

Coley hopes the Saturday Schools can make a comeback.

"Hopefully we can get the programs back next year, start from ground zero and get them set up the way they need to be set up," he said. "I'm gonna do my best to get Dougherty County back on track. When I leave here I want Dougherty County back in the black. I want all the Title I violations corrected."

Comments

dingleberry 1 year, 1 month ago

I like it! Following the rules for a change would really be nice. Make sure Sabbs doesn't get his foot near the door.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 1 month ago

Saturday programs are baby sitting functions.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 1 month ago

"back in the black" is a poor choice of words and is exactly the opposite of what this decision is accomplishing.........which is good. Getting the GREEN to the BLACK is all that was going on with Papa Doc Murfree.

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waltspecht 1 year, 1 month ago

When were we fool enough to accept the parenting responsibility for these children? We entertain them on Saturdays, feed them breakfast, lunch and after school snacks, all because the Parents are to sorry, or lazy, to do these things for their own children. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Aren't support payments based upon the Family size, providing enough to feed three wholesome, not desired, meals a day?

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bubbasmithredneck 1 year, 1 month ago

the almighty dollar wins again....

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redneckgourmet 1 year, 1 month ago

Yeah, it really sucks to have to live within a budget. But, you know, you could always volunteer your services. I do it. Lots of people do it. If you already do, then great! If not, quit bitching and help out...

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redneckgourmet 1 year, 1 month ago

Oh, and that wasn't only pointed at BSR. If all you do is sit on the sidelines, then you deserve what you get. Used to be that we didn't rely on the gov't to do everything for us. Get off your lazy ash and make it better. And stop having kids you can't afford.

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hotdog 1 year, 1 month ago

Ooooooo big bad redneck talking smack on the squawk used to be a time when the government was the only thing standing between some people and JIM CROW....anyway, I understand from a fiscal standpoint why this must be done and agree with it....just a shame that the children have to suffer due to piss poor money management by idiots

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whattheheck 1 year, 1 month ago

Thank goodness someone finally realizes these things cost real dollars! If one were to announce that 100 5# bags of cat-scat were being given away, within an hour there would be a line two blocks long with those not getting scat bags wailing and moaning for more bags to appear, a share was not received by all. When the dollar is not considered, some see no limit to what others should be willing to pay for.

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Somebody 1 year, 1 month ago

bubbasmith knows nothing about saving the almighty dollar. It's people like him that thinks money grows on trees and think we should continue to spend, spend and spend.

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RedEric 1 year, 1 month ago

At what point does this become criminal? A minority of the property in Albany is taxable. A minority of Albany's citizens will pay back this million dollar shortfall. The perpetrators should at least spend a few years in prison. I demand my minority rights!!

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whattheheck 1 year, 1 month ago

You are more than correct, Red. Although tax records show 24% of all property value is tax exempt, the real number is more than half of all property. So, the not taxed does exceed the taxed.. All the media has been told about this and all of the politicians know it, but no one is willing to stand up and force the issue to be resolved--forget about it and it goes away. At the same time, so is Albany but it seems that does not matter, does it?..

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chinaberry25 1 year, 1 month ago

They have Saturday school because you must attend so many days in order to pass on the next year. Now you will see a lot less students graduating. If they really want to pass or graduate, then they will get their warm bodies there during the week. What you also forgot is the buses also pick the students up on Saturday. I almost hit one yard selling at 6:30AM when it was too foggy to see. You do not expect to see a school bus on Sat. in a neighborhood.

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GG126 1 year, 1 month ago

What a slap in the face to those of us working legitimately under Title 1 and being compensated very little, while others make huge salaries and never see a student or parent's face. We've been told year after year, "We're working on it, you all just keep working hard - we understand". No wonder there was never enough money to pay us a living wage. They should be ashamed to look us, the core workers in the trenches, in the face.

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