Hightower on A.A. Dixon

Escambia County School Board member Patty Hightower says she doesn’t know what will happen tonight regarding the future of A.A. Dixon charter school, but noted that a recently added item on the board’s agenda may find some support among her cohorts.

“I think with the wording that’s here they may be willing to go forward,” Hightower said this afternoon.

An agenda item was added this morning to the school board’s meeting agenda. The item details a possible amendment to the district’s contract with A.A. Dixon.

The school district’s current contract—which ends June 30—stipulates that the charter school improve its financial and academic standing. While the new board of directors and staff have managed to shed a bulk of the school’s past debt, there is still some question as to the charter’s FCAT grade. That question won’t be cleared up until the state releases grades next month.

During a school board workshop last week, board member Linda Moultrie suggested amending the contract. She thought the charter showed promise.

“Mrs. Moultrie started talking and I said I’d be glad to second it,” Hightower recalled.

Superintendent Malcolm Thomas and school board members Bill Slayton and Jeff Bergosh seemed ready to stick with the current contract—hinging Dixon’s chances on the FCAT performance. Hightower said today that she believes the proposed amendment may have more support than the notion garnered previously.

“I think the superintendent is also willing to go this route,” she said.

Hightower said the proposed amendment lays out additional criteria that Dixon must meet if they perform poorly on the FCAT.
“If they’re an F school, there’s still some additional things we’d like to see,” the school board member said.

Hightower noted the changes with the FCAT at the state level, as well as achievements made by the charter school among her reasons for taking another look at the issue.

“I think they have made some significant strides,” she said, adding that she wanted the school board to be “fair in our decisions.”

The Escambia County School Board meets tonight at 5:30 p.m. at 30 E Texar Dr.