Halifax schools agree to state intervention

HALIFAX COUNTY The consent agreement overseen by Superior Court Judge Howard Manning will put 12 instructional coaches in schools to work with teachers. Teachers who don't succeed will be fired.

The Halifax County School Board will also work under the direction of state officials. If they don't, they'll be back in court.

The move comes after Manning called the district's academic performance "academic genocide," and North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue announce the state would move in.

In all, the plan includes:

· 3 weeks of professional development for principals and central office personnel

· 2 weeks of professional development to teachers

· 12 full-time master educators hired by Halifax County Schools to help classroom teachers improve instruction

· 3 school transformation coaches provided by the state

· A district transformation coach provided by the state

· Consultation with state regarding use of federal and state appropriations.

Halifax County is one of 115 local school districts in North Carolina and serves approximately 4,400 students. The district northeast of Raleigh has 14 schools.

Judge Manning said recent test scores that show 71.3 percent of students in grades 3 through 5 are not reading at grade level and 74.3 percent are not reading at grade level in grades 6 through 8.

"This is irrefutable evidence of a complete breakdown in academics," said Judge Manning last month.

The court order will be presented to the state board of education by CEO of Education Dr. Harrison at their next meeting on May 6.

Once it is signed by the state board it will come back to the judge for his signature.

The $1.8 million dollar plan is supposed to be paid for by Halifax County. The Superintendent says the economic crisis hit Halifax sooner and harder than other places.

Judge Manning and the state found that of the $75 million the school district spent over the last three years, 92 percent went to salaries not related to instruction. Manning says they had to have the money to correct their problems if they spent it wisely.

To learn more about the state's exhibits, visit the Department of Public Instruction's Web site at www.dpi.state.nc.us

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