City school board says district’s academics must improve

City school board says district’s academics must improve


The city school board president acknowledges the district has realized improvements under Superintendent Connie Hathorn’s leadership, but the board wants the schools to climb out of academic watch.

“We’re still in academic watch,” Richard Atkinson said. “When I talk to parents, they say, ‘You’re still in academic watch. Why would I want to bring my child back there?’”

The majority of the school board on Monday signed an evaluation of Hathorn, rating him an overall five out of a possible score of nine. Last year, the same board members rated him a seven out of a possible nine.

Atkinson said he believes the district is moving in the right direction, but he wants to see the district earn an “excellent with distinction” rating.

“I don’t think in a year from now, we’ll even be having this conversation,” he said.

Board members Rachel Hanni, Lock P. Beachum Sr. and Michael Murphy didn’t sign the completed evaluation — which was dated Feb. 27. It was signed Monday by the board’s majority — Atkinson, Andrea Mahone, Marcia Haire-Ellis and Brenda Kimble.

“The superintendent has asked us to hold him accountable and we have,” Mahone said. “Now I’m taking a stand.”

She pointed to the academic watch rating where the district has been on the last two state report cards.

“This is not personal,” Mahone said.

Read more in Wednesday’s Vindicator.

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