By Kathryn Purcell
In a message sent to all of Georgia's local superintendents on Wednesday, State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox nullified the results of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) in the area of social studies for sixth- and seventh-graders.
"After intense scrutiny of the standards and the assessment, we have come to the conclusion that these scores are not trustworthy measures of student achievement in social studies," the message, found on the state Department of Education (DOE) Web site, states. "Accordingly, the results will be invalidated...This decision is based primarily on the conviction that we need to revise the curriculum and the assessments to better evaluate the knowledge and skills that represent student achievement in social studies."
"In their opinion, there was not an alignment between the curriculum taught and the curriculum tested," Morgan County Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Ralph Bennett said, of the announcement by Cox. "It shows how inexact standardized tests can be in determinations that have to be made about students, schools and teachers."
The invalidation of the social studies results doesn't determine whether a sixth- or seventh-grader moves to the next grade level, according to Bennett. In fact, reading and math assessments determine promotion or retention.
The Morgan County School System has received preliminary CRCT results and is currently working on data verification before the results can be sent back to the state DOE and made official.
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
Morgan County commissioners determined at a work session last week to go forward with a study of the local work force, to determine where county residents are working.
“This is really an economic development study,” said Senior Planner Allison Moon. “We have put together a proposal…with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at UGA to study the character of our work force in Morgan County.”
The study will determine “educational level, commuting patterns, residential location v. work location, under/over employment based on educational/skill level,” according to documents provided by the board of commissioners. The study will also analyze the need for improvements in the county, versus the perceived needs of the local workforce.
“Do we need more workers with certain skills in this county…do we have people with Masters degrees who [can’t find work]?” said Moon. “This study will help us determine that.”
The cost of the study has not yet been finalized; the county will put together a specification package for the Carl Vinson Institute of Government in the coming weeks, and the cost will be determined at that time, said County Special Projects Coordinator Monica Hayden. If the price is found to be acceptable, the study could begin this October.
Council member questions need for property taxes
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
Discussions of money and budgeting were front and center during Rutledge's regular monthly meeting and called budget work session Monday night.
The city has just under $300,000 in its general fund and approximately $182,000 in its water and sewer fund as the fiscal year winds down.
The city will contract with Certified Public Accountant Robert McAlister to conduct an audit of the city's finances for fiscal year 2008; the audit will begin in August and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. “They do really good work,” said Mayor Pro Tem Brenda Thompson.
The council spent time discussing items that they would like to see as a focus in next year's budget, such as storm drains, improved sidewalks and the possibility of enhancing the parking area adjacent to City Hall.
Council member Tommy Strott advocated a continued investment in infrastructure for the city.
“I think we had some good money budgeted for capital improvements this year,” said Strott. “I think if we continue to budget similar amounts in coming years, we'll be able to improve and maintain our infrastructure.” Noting that the city is currently under budget for some FY08 expenditures, Strott had a question. “Do we have to charge property tax?” he asked, pointing out that the city's income from property tax is a relatively small percentage of the budget. “We could eliminate property tax and still be in the black...I'm saying it a little bit tongue-in-cheek, but not totally,” said Strott.
By Matthew Burgoyne
With a September 1 deadline set by the Board of Commissioners, the citizens of Morgan County are working to create an agricultural cooperative.
Allison Moon, senior planner for Morgan County, brought the idea of a cooperative to the Board of Commissioners. The commissioners told Moon she can continue to help the citizens form and organize this cooperative as long as progress is made by September 1.
As part of the bi-weekly meetings, the Agricultural Land Use and Zoning Discussion Group came up with the idea of an agricultural cooperative. On May 15, the group decided to continue meeting through the month of June.
“I was excited to see that the group wanted to keep meeting,” Moon said. “It allows me to show the citizens how the world works from my side of the desk and it also allows me to see how the world works on the other side.”
The group briefly discussed the cooperative, because this meeting was focused on land use and zoning concerns. Everyone agreed that the cooperative needed organization and needed to move forward, and the group will continue to work on this project.
Moon provided the group with a few options for the future of land in Morgan County. The purpose of these discussion groups was to give Moon an idea of what the citizens wanted to see in the county in terms of land use. As part of her job, Moon is charged with the task of updating the Comprehensive Plan five years after its adoption. 2009 will be the fifth year. This group meetings have given Moon the knowledge she needs to complete her work.
Warrants allege massive forgery, credit card fraud
By Kathryn Purcell
For Morgan County High School seniors, the end of this week will see the end of a 13-year career in public education. It will be the last time that the Class of 2008 is gathered together, as a whole, before departing for their various paths in life.
But, before they go, members of this year's graduating class will have to cross the stage on the field of their soon-to-be alma mater.
The Graduation Ceremony for Morgan County High School will begin at 8 p.m. this Friday night, May 23, at the school's Bill Corry Stadium.
Seniors must report to the school's cafeteria at 7 p.m., an hour before the ceremony begins, in their caps and gowns. Also, seniors are also required to attend Graduation Practice on Thursday, May 22 at 9 a.m.
If inclement weather should occur, this year's Morgan County High School Graduation Ceremony will be held on Saturday morning, May 24 at 10 a.m. In this case, seniors must report to the school's cafeteria at 9 a.m.
In order to graduate, seniors must complete all graduation requirements, including completing all coursework and exams, and must pay all fines and/or fees due to the school.
For further information on this year's Graduation Ceremony, contact Morgan County High School at 706.342.2336.