Temporary rule will save Escambia school grades

Despite some of the lowest FCAT scores in recent memory, Escambia County schools will not see F’s and D’s when the state announces their school grades for the 2011-12 school years. The State Board of Education has passed a new rule, for 2011-12 only:

No school grade will drop more than one letter grade from the grade assigned in 2010-11. Any school that would otherwise drop more than one letter grade based on points earned will have its points totals adjusted to a school-grade level that is no more than one letter grade lower than the school was assigned in the prior year.

It will be interesting to see how Superintendent Malcolm Thomas spins the school grades this year and the daily newspaper congratulates him.

Of course, Thomas has no intention of granting similar lenience to the A.A. Dixon Charter School. On Friday, Rev. Lutimothy May asked the school district to grant an amendment to the school’s contract to allow it to operate another year. Though the students have shown great advances and the May has raised funds to pay off most of the schools debt from the prior year, Thomas and board members Bill Slayton and Jeff Bergosh aren’t budging.

Board members Patty Hightower and Linda Moultrie appeared last Thursday’s workshop to be ready to amend the contract, which makes former teacher Gerald Boone the swing vote.

Meanwhile, I had two attorneys call me since our July 21 issue (“Race & the Classroom“) hit the newsstands. Both are looking into possible lawsuits against the school district for its policies regarding hiring, promotion to principal and district posts, school closures and A.A. Dixon. There is plenty there.