Anniston BOE to make redistribution of students part of strategic overall plan
by Paige Rentz
prentz@annistonstar.com
Feb 07, 2013 | 4261 views |  0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Plans to redistribute Anniston’s public school students more efficiently among city campuses are being folded into the district’s strategic planning process.

In a Thursday work session, Superintendent Joan Frazier told members of the Board of Education that the strategic plan should drive the effort to reorganize the schools.

“The way we want to go should be in our strategic plan, not we decide what we’re going to do and then do a strategic plan,” she said.

A new strategic plan has to be the first major order of business for the new board; three members came into office for the first time in November, Frazier said. “It will drive what they do for the next four years.”

Facilities have and will continue to be a major part of strategic planning for the district, she said, so using the process to plan for the reorganization makes sense.

The previous board failed to come to a conclusion on how to move forward with proposals to close an elementary school and potentially move middle school operations to the high school campus. Frazier said if the decision about how to reorganize the schools had been made a year or so ago, it would have been a standalone decision.

“But now we’ve got the two aligned,” she said, “and that’s really the way it should be.”

Frazier said the school system wrote a strategic plan in 2002 and updated it in 2007. “It’s time to update it, modernize it, and redo it where it needs to be redone.”

Now, it’s a priority for the board to update the plan as quickly as possible, starting with hiring a planner to help the district through the process. Frazier said she hopes to give the board four to six candidates with various backgrounds and experiences for the board to choose from by the board meeting on Feb. 21. After the meeting Frazier said she wasn’t sure how much a planner could cost but emphasized the system needs “an objective, outside strategic planner if you’re going to take your plan seriously.”

Board member Bill Robison suggested that the board request a list of project experience from each of the candidates.

Board members are currently trying to schedule a joint meeting with the City Council, at which some of the discussion will be “integral in setting a basis for the strategic plan,” Frazier said. Board member William Hutchings pushed for the board to move quickly on confirming a meeting time with the council members. “We’ve been putting this off for a month,” he said.

Frazier said she couldn’t provide a timeline for the strategic planning process, noting that the board was already behind due to some weather delays last month.

In a brief meeting, the board also approved a contract with Sheretta Gamble Smith, a licensed occupational therapist, to provide services at a cost not to exceed $14,999. The contract extends through the current fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30. Team Rehabilitation Services, the district’s former provider, could no longer adequately serve the district after some of its employees left the company, Frazier said.

Currently the district provides occupational therapy services to three to four elementary students, about six middle school students and one high school student based on their individualized education plans. The contract is being paid with federal funds through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Staff writer Paige Rentz: 256-235-3564. On Twitter @PRentz_Star.

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