The latest Dougherty County School System controversy is another embarrassment to a system that has had more than its share in recent years.
The system likely will have to repay the state more than $100,000 in misspent federal grant money. The most serious issue . . . a contract worth more than $90,000 to Darrell Sabbs and Associates to run a Saturday Academy. Director of Federal Programs Dr. Betty Graper approved it in clear violation of school system policy then refused to cooperate with the system attorney’s investigation.
Let’s run down a list of previous problems. Of course, there’s the CRCT cheating scandal that happened under the previous superintendent’s watch, but the current leadership failed to investigate the allegations appropriately and repeatedly denied there was a problem even after the state made it clear there were serious issues.
There’s the school lunch controversy. A principal and board member are accused of falsifying forms to get free lunches for their kids. A state investigator who came to Albany to look into the lunch program says leaders did not provide all the needed information. Administrators say they needed time to gather the information and are cooperating.
Remember when the Superintendent repaid bail money to a parent who complained about the arrest of a student, and the school police chief said he was ordered by the Assistant Superintendent not to arrest anyone without Murfree’s approval?
These are just a few of the issues that cast doubt on whether the current administration is equipped to lead the system properly, yet the school board seems unwilling or unable to do anything about it.
The board has the power to discipline or fire Dr. Murfree and his lieutenants at any time.
Board members must hold the system’s top administrators accountable for their mistakes and let them know there are serious consequences for those mistakes. It may not be too late for the administration to get the Dougherty County School System in order, but the clock is ticking.
If you don’t have a job, it isn’t because the University System of Georgia might not have wanted you.
When the private sector is increasing pay rolls at a snail’s pace as the recession drags on, and while Georgia state government cut about 10,000 jobs since 2007, the University System of Georgia has been hiring hand over fist.
The system has added more than 5,000 employees in this period.
We read in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that some schools increased staff by as much as 45 percent. This is happening while students faced larger increases in tuition and fees.
Colleges say they needed to hire additional staff to keep pace with increasing enrollment. During the same period, the state cut nearly $300 million from University System funding.
So who is paying for all these new hands in the payroll? The students and their families.
And what’s the result? Higher student loan debt. And this comes at a time when an alarmingly high number of people with college degrees can’t find jobs in their field.
The University System says it’s making several moves to make the system more efficient. Let’s hope so.
The meter is running on all these students who are coming out of college—
facing a mountain of debt.
<p><em><span style=”color: #888888;”><img title=”Jim Wilcox1″ src=”http://thealbanyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Jim-Wilcox1.jpg” alt=”Jim Wilcox1″ width=”205″ height=”292″ />Written by Jim Wilcox, general manager</span></em> of<a href=”http://www.walb.com/”> WALB</a>.</p>