Wednesday, March 24, 1999

Parents staying involved in Boone

Vote keeps school group in operation

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FLORENCE — Parents of Boone County High School students want to keep a hand in school business.

        In a 42-22 vote Tuesday night, they decided to keep the school-based decision-making council.

        “I'm happy because there are some drawbacks to the way it is, but there are things we can do to work around it,” said Susan Burcham, president of the Parent Teacher Student Association, who also has two children who attend the school.

        “It's a checks-and-balances system. We have no problem working with the administration, but you never know. Somebody can leave and you don't know what will happen.”

        School-based councils are required by Kentucky law and are the governing body of the school.

        These councils are a part of Kentucky's education reform. They shift power to teachers and parents and away from the principal.

        Most schools in Kentucky are required to have three teachers, two parents and a principal govern funds, hiring and other decisions.

        However, schools can opt out of the plan if they reach goals or reward levels in the state's assessment and accountability system. That is, as long as teachers and parents agree.

        After band teacher Dave Weber organized the vote, teachers voted last week, 55-21, to dismiss the council.

        Some parents and teachers have said the school-based council delays some decision-making because it meets only once a month.

        “It just slows down the business of the school,” said Brenda Berry of Florence, whose two children attend Boone County High.

        “You don't let patients run hospitals. They're not the people who have become educated to do the job.

        “I don't think a parent ought to make a hiring decision at the school.”

        Tim Barber of Florence, who also has two children who attend the school, said parents are able to give input to the administration already.

        “My feeling is it's another level of bureaucracy that's not proven to be effective,” he said.

        But other parents say the council is the best way for parents to make decisions about their children's education.

        Teresa Dietz of Florence, who has a child who's a sophomore, has been a parent representative several times.

        “I think there's things that can be improved, but it's the only system we have right now where we can have input,” she said.

        “It's one more avenue to get parents involved.”


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