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Letter to the editor: School board clarifies, seeks to correct misinformation
Letter to the Editor generic


We are very aware of the national news attention regarding Boards of Education in the media. However, those national concerns are not what's happening in Bryan County Schools. Please know we are the same leaders who have governed for years, and we remain invested in making Bryan County School District the very best. The only goal we have is to provide the best educational experience for our students.  

 While we cannot speak to what is happening in other school systems around the country, we are well versed in our schools. We wish to reinforce that CRT or Critical Race Theory is not in our curriculum and the Board of Education has never considered introducing this graduate level theory into our school district. When we hear the same rumors as you, we have repeatedly asked for documentation or evidence. While the voices are loud and insistent, no one has offered any evidence for our administrators to investigate. 

 We wish to reassure our community that if any concerns are brought forth by parents or students that CRT or political agendas are being taught, principals have been trained to thoroughly investigate and address these allegations. For more information about how the state of Georgia has addressed curriculum concerns, you may wish to read about HB 1084, the recently passed "divisive concepts" bill that the Governor has signed into law.

 For further clarification, Bryan County School System does not teach comprehensive sex education, nor does it teach students about sexuality or gender issues. Again, please always feel free to reach out, ask questions, and speak with your child’s teacher or principal if you have questions about what your child is learning.  

 We also wish to share additional information about our monthly meetings. The Board of Education typically holds at least 2 meetings a month: a work session and a regular monthly meeting. At our work sessions, we review and discuss information, and ask questions. Typically, the items we review and discuss at our work sessions are the items that will be brought forth for a vote the next week.  Work sessions routinely last about 2 hours. The Board uses the week between the two meetings to process the information presented or to ask for additional information prior to voting at our regular meeting. Regular monthly meetings are typically shorter as this is where the Board takes official action on the items we have already reviewed and discussed. 

 Regarding changes in Math Education, yes, the math standards are indeed changing for the 2022-2023 school year. Please know our district advocated for the Georgia Department of Education to delay changing the math standards. We understood our teachers and our students would benefit from at least one entirely “normal” year prior to the implementation of this change. However, locally we cannot reject the standards set by the Georgia Department of Education or we would lose approximately 60% of our school system budget.  

 We’ve recently heard the community’s desire for increased transparency and easier access to information. We began planning about a year ago for the redesign of parts of our website. While some information has always been on our district site, we’ve sought to make it easier to navigate and understand. As a Board we have requested several changes to help community members as they search for information. For instance, our financial data now has a new landing page, and it is easier to access our annual budget, our most recent financial audit as well as our monthly expenditures.  

 Our county has faced tremendous growth as the fastest growing county in the state of Georgia; we know there will be more growth coming with the North Bryan Mega Site. Experienced leadership matters more than ever in our community. Bryan County Schools has celebrated its highest academic achievement in our history. We are going on year 14 of not raising the millage rate. Approximately 68% of Bryan County teachers have been educators for more than 10 years.  

 In closing, we hope to reassure our community that we haven’t changed or waivered in our beliefs or our integrity, even though the political climate and agendas have changed. Every member of the current Board of Education is a parent, and we all have children or grandchildren currently enrolled or recently graduated from the Bryan County School System. We want the best for our children just as we want the best for your children.  

 Lastly, misinformation is perceived as attacks on our educators and staff. We are concerned about false information affecting our employee morale and leading to an exodus of our amazing staff to another district who will support them publicly.  Should the Bryan County community begin to waiver in its long-standing support for public education, we must all be prepared for the deep and stark changes that will bring forth.  

 Please allow us to share some truths about the Bryan County School System that we feel speak for themselves: 

 In 2013, the graduation rate at Bryan County High School was 61.8% and Richmond Hill High School's was 80.4%.  

In 2021, Bryan County High School had a graduation rate of 90.32% and Richmond Hill High School, 94%. 

 During a national and local teaching shortage, our teacher retention rate for 2021 was the highest it has been in the last decade since we began tracking this information. 

 Our fully approved, employer sponsored daycare, now in its second year of operation, has been a positive recruiting and retention tool. Last year, several teachers signed contracts to teach in Bryan County specifically because of our BEE (Bryan Early Education) childcare program.  

 Bryan County School System is ranked 8th out of 180 school districts in literacy. 

 Our CCRPI scores are 13th out of 180 school districts. 

 Every school in Bryan County received a "Climate Rating" of 4 or 5 stars (5 being the highest). 

 The Board of Education has received the highest level of recognition, "Exemplary School Board" for the second year in a row. Last year was the first year in the Board of Education's history that this recognition was given to Bryan County.  

 Also, for the first time in our history, the Bryan County Board of Education has been announced as a finalist for Georgia's 2021 Governance Team of the Year. Bryan County School System is one of only four Boards of Education in the medium category (3,000- 10,000 students) to be announced as a 2021 finalist. This prestigious award honors the top board/superintendent team that best demonstrates its commitment to maximizing student achievement and enhancing trust and support for public education in their community. 

 Bryan County School System received a Financial Efficiency Star Rating of 4.5 out of 5 possible rating from the Georgia Department of Education in FY 2019, the last year in which these ratings were issued. The Financial Efficiency Star Rating measures an individual school district’s per-pupil spending in relation to the academic achievements of its students.  

 Bryan County School System received the Award of Distinction for Excellent Financial Reporting from the Georgia Department of Audits for the year ended June 30, 2020. 

 Bryan County School System teacher's salary schedules are 9% greater than the state salary schedule (the metric most school districts use to set salary schedules).  

 Bryan County School System received an As2 and As1 bond rating from Moody's Investors Service and AA from S&P Global Ratings. These ratings place Bryan County in the highest rating category for districts our size.  

Bryan County Board of Education.

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