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August 23--  The Georgia Board of Education is giving the Montgomery County school board seven months to get its house in order.


After a three-hour hearing Wednesday in Atlanta, the state board voted to accept a consent order requiring the school board to correct governance issues contained in a report from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).  If it fails to meet a March 31,2012 deadline, the board can recommend that Governor Nathan Deal suspend the board members.

School Superintendent Randy Rodgers and members of the board all testified they can fix their problems if given time.

State Board Chairwoman Wanda Barrs is appealing  to citizens in Montgomery County to put aside their differences.

"The state board is giving the local board of education in cooperation with the superintendent the opportunity to work toward improving the atmosphere for learning and we believe they deserve this opportunity to try to make that work.  I really ask the citizens of Montgomery County to put aside their differences and work alongside this leadership in order to make that happen to the benefit of the students in Montgomery County," Barr said.

Montgomery County board chairwoman Deloris James echoes Mrs. Barr's appeal, "I think it would be tremendously beneficial to the students to lay aside some of the pettiness and politics which has been going on.  This can only be achieved through the hard work of the community and the citizens."

However, a vocal critic of the school board, Adrian Bell of Uvalda, is unhappy with the hearing and its results.

"They might have represented the state, but they were not representing Montgomery County.  They were not representing my children and the members and children of  'Kids First, Montgomery.'  There was so much stuff left on the table that was not brought out.  They just took the easy way out and gave these people more time to continue to mess up our school system and that is so unfortunate," Bell said.

The school board will host a re-inspection by a SACS review team in mid-December.  Results of that review will impact the state school board's final decision next March.