By RJ Walters / For the Jackson Citizen Patriot
Albion High School is inching closer to a restructuring plan that would temporarily turn the school’s governance over to a School Improvement Committee to make amends for failing to meet the state’s Adequate Yearly Progress guidelines.
At a community forum Tuesday, high school Principal Derrick Crum and administrative assistant Willie Lewis outlined reconstruction ideas from the Michigan Department of Education that ranged from dismissing the principal to hiring a “turnaround specialist” from outside the district to reopening the school as a charter school.
But several dozen Albion residents came to the general consensus that focusing and stabilizing the school’s current leadership seems like a more productive, cost-effective avenue than pursuing outside opinions from people who are unfamiliar with the district.
Creating a plan that involves the decision-making of the School Improvement Committee would require adding community members and parents of students to what is currently a five-member board of Albion High School teachers.
The school needs to present its plan to the state by September, and the committee must then make changes before handing the reins back to Crum.
Linda Morgan, an Albion High School graduate who has had three children graduate from the district and a daughter who will be a junior next year, said communication and community involvement such as Tuesday’s meeting are positive steps.
“I think we’re headed in the right direction, and I like the openness of Derrick and Mr. Lewis about where we’re at and where we’re headed,” she said. “But I would like for (Crum) to have more staff support.”
Schools must meet AYP criteria to be eligible for Title I funds and having failed to meet the English language arts and math testing progress standards for four consecutive years, Albion High School must implement a major reconstruction of the school’s leadership.
The district is facing a $1.48 million budget deficit for the 2010-11 school year.
Crum said he thinks improved communication and cost savings are the top priorities for the new plan.
Crum and Lewis will take what they gathered from Tuesday’s meeting to Thursday’s noon school board meeting, and hope to announce plans for another community forum.