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Story Archives: One more chance
|One more chance|
Winnsboro Elementary School must shape up or the state will take it over.
That was the message which surfaced after the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education agreed with state Superintendent Paul Pastorek's recommendation to have Franklin Parish Schools enter into a "Memorandum of Understanding" with the state. BESE signed off on Pastorek's recommendation last week.
The "MOU" entails a compromise, for the lack of a better description, to allow Franklin Parish Schools to continue operating Winnsboro elementary, a school that has performed poorly on standardized tests for at least the past five years. The school's poor performance on standardized tests prompted discussion about a state take-over.
The "MOU," which will be worked out between the state and the parish school system within 60 days, will establish academic goals Winnsboro elementary must reach over the next year. If the school does not reach them, the state Recovery School District will be given the responsibility of operating Winnsboro elementary. That would mean Franklin Parish Schools would lose control of Winnsboro elementary, including any state funding the parish school system received on behalf of Winnsboro elementary.
When talk began in earnest concerning a state take-over at Winnsboro elementary it was apparent local school officials did not want it. That's understandable. After all, we suspect no local official wants to admit he or she did not measure up performance-wise in the eyes of state education officials.
It became apparent a few weeks ago as well that some heavy duty lobbying had ensued to convince BESE to give Franklin Parish Schools another opportunity to "fix" Winnsboro elementary. Dr. Keith Guice, a member of BESE, led the charge on that front.
That raises a question, though.
Do Franklin Parish school officials have a plan to lift Winnsboro elementary from the paralysis in which it exists today?
We hope so.
We hope so, too, for Pastorek's sake and for the sake of BESE. Remember, Pastorek and every member of BESE who supported the state superintendent's recommendation placed their reputations on the line when they advocated giving Franklin Parish Schools another chance to improve Winnsboro elementary.
Yet, let us not lose sight of what or who is the most important issue at stake in this discussion about BESE, Franklin Parish Schools and Pastorek.
It's the children who attend Winnsboro elementary. They are ones who stand to lose the most if the men and women responsible for their education fail to perform with the children's best interests at heart.