I read the newspapers every day, and I find lately that those who are quoted in the stories are not always those who truly speak for our system, our teachers, our students, our learning community.

It has been my experience that the citizens of this community want the truth. For that reason, I wanted to provide some facts that will give your readers a truer vision of what is happening in our school system.

Our school system is a good one. We have hard-working and caring employees, focused students and supportive parents. We have big accomplishments, and we have big challenges.

Transportation is a challenge. But our transportation administrators are meeting with bus drivers and principals during this time to go over proposed routes, fix problems and ensure that every child who needs a seat on a bus this fall will have one.

Money is a challenge. Our administrative staff is working on a budget that again forces us to do more with less. Our commitment to a balanced budget is unwavering, and in order to provide the services needed by our boys and girls and required by federal and state law, we are creating a budget that enforces the staffing formula approved by the board last year.

Both of these challenges are heightened by our commitment to the Five Year Plan. This plan aims to improve educational opportunities for all students, while at the same time improving the racial balances in our schools. Our belief that children do not benefit from racial isolation is unshakable.

We are making progress. We have reinforcement of this belief from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, a respected organization with an accreditation process that is accepted as the gold standard in the American South. We achieved this accreditation on our first try, one of only six districts in the nation to accomplish this. During that process, we were commended for many things, including our data-driven decision making, our innovative practices and our hiring of the most qualified teachers.

These statements are facts. These statements are the truth. I have no intention of remaining silent while misinformation campaigns are launched. In the coming weeks, I will be providing facts about our successes and challenges to the public on a regular basis. It is my hope that our community will join us in seeking truth.

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