School chief speaks to White Oak Golden K
From Special Reports
Dr. Steve Barker, superintendent of the Coweta County School System, spoke to the White Oak Golden K Kiwanis Club at the club’s regular weekly meeting recently, covering school growth, finances, academic progress and other major issues.
Barker discussed school finances, saying that the school system was on sound financial footing despite significant reductions in educational revenues. Barker noted that the school board has recently maintained the school system’s millage rate – which provides Coweta’s local share of school funding – at 18.59 mills. It was the eighth year in a row that the school system had maintained the millage rate.
“We’re doing more and more with less and less, and we’re able to do that because some of the finest people working with our students at all levels and in all positions within the school system,” he said.
Barker also picked out Golden K Kiwanis members Bobby Welch, a former Coweta County Schools superintendent, and Kirk Stallings, a former system principal, as examples of why Coweta schools do well. “It’s because of leaders like this that the school system is in the shape that it’s in,” he said.
Barker gave Kiwanians an overview of many aspects of the system, including school system growth, which has increased by about 200 students over the end of the last school year to 22,700 students, and statistics on the county’s 31 schools, student transportation, food service, health, safety and academics. Barker also noted recent system honors, such as Dr. Laurie Barron being named the National Middle School Principal of the Year, and events, such as Cowetan Larry Robertson being named as a new member of the school board.
Barker also discussed school technology innovations, including $3 million, three-year push to increase technology in the classroom, and the county school system’s increasing developments to allow students to bring their own technology from home for use in directed instruction in the classroom.
Barker also discussed county schools’ increasing development of greater science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs and internships, particularly through the Central Educational Center charter school.
“The CEC partnership is creating an environment in which students are graduating ready to go to work and to college, and go on to careers in STEM fields,” said Barker.
In answering a question on the upcoming state constitutional amendment regarding charter schools, Barker said that he has concerns about the financial issues that accompany the amendment.
Barker suggested that Kiwanians could read reports by Governor Nathan Deal’s office, on the governor’s website, and State Superintendent John Barge’s office, on the Department of Education’s website, for a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding the amendment.
The White Oak Golden K Kiwanis Club of Newnan meets each Thursday at 9 a.m. at the Sprayberry’s restaurant, Hwy. 34 East in Newnan.
Visitors are welcome.