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Decatur schools seeking input on strategic plan
Community meetings planned
at city's 3 middle schools

By Bayne Hughes
hughes@decaturdaily.com 340-2432

Decatur school officials want your input into how they educate your children and the future of the school system.

What do you like or dislike? If the school system offers bus service to pickup points in your neighborhood, would you use it? Where do you get your information on school system news, activities and events? Do the school facilities adequately provide for the students' educational and extracurricular needs?

These are questions that school officials are asking in a combination of surveys and three community meetings as part of forming a strategic plan for Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation.

Beginning Thursday, the school board will have community meetings at Oak Park, Brookhaven and Cedar Ridge middle schools. The meetings start at 6:30 p.m.

Superintendent Sam Houston said each meeting will be in two sessions.

A large-group session and orientation begins each meeting. Participants will break into four or five groups, depending on how many school board members attend each meeting.

Assistant Superintendent Ed Nichols said the school system also sent 2,500 surveys, including 1,500 to parents (20 percent of the system's school parents), 500 to teachers (75 percent of the faculty), and 500 to community and business groups. The Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce and the Decatur Business and Minority Council provided lists of these special interest groups.

The surveys are in English and Spanish.

In the past, each of Decatur's 17 schools formed a strategic plan, but a recent SACS change lets the school system combine under one plan while including each school's individual goals and needs.

The system will be looking at its five- and 10-year goals.

Nichols said Maintenance Director Bruce Friday and Finance Director Melanie Maples are examining the school system's buildings to form a plan for the school system's capital project needs.

Public meetings

The Decatur City Board of Education will have public meetings to get input for a strategic plan that is part of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation process. Attendance of any of the 6:30 p.m. meetings does not require having a student who attends that school or lives in a specific area:

Thursday — Oak Park Middle School.

April 3 — Brookhaven Middle School.

April 5 — Cedar Ridge Middle School

- Bayne Hughes

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