AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – While education improved in the past few years in Richmond County, the superintendent is charging the community to partner for continued success. Angela Pringle gave the school system’s annual report for 2016 to government and business leaders and other school officials.
“We have reduced our central office budget by a million dollars and pushed that money back down to the schools to give them more resources. But still that’s not enough. So many of them need support because struggling schools, for the most part, exist in the midst of a struggling community,” Pringle said to the group.
The hour-long talk included a challenge to community leaders to look beyond the surface and past the numbers to see that the district’s hard work is paying off for students.
Pringle started with College and Career Ready Performance Index numbers. She said people get worked up about the pass – fail numbers, but other factors such as attendance play a part in the calculation.
Tax Commissioner Steven Kendrick said he was shocked to hear that so much went into CCRPI numbers.
“It is mentorship. It is strategy and ideas. Just the connections and involvement. I think as a local government, we have to be more aware that there is something that is sitting right here in our midst that is potentially improving our city’s look to the rest of the world,” he said.
Pringle focused on improvements, such as the 77 percent graduation rate that is the highest since 2004. There has also been an increase in STEM offerings at schools and JROTC is at each high school.
Business leaders, such as Heather Meyer with Textron Specialized Vehicles, can help some students make a complete turn around.
“We took the ones that were going to drop out of Richmond County. We used a rubric to score them. The more you missed, the more credit deficient you are or if there is a financial need or a special circumstance for the student the higher you score to get into the program,” said Meyer, a Plant Manager.
Mayor Hardie Davis also spoke at the breakfast and shared that the city is poised to help the school system, especially in uderserved areas.
Superintendent Pringle did not address school safety at the breakfast despite several fights and two weapons on school grounds last month.
Parents, however, brought there concerns to a meeting scheduled for them Thursday night at A.R. Johnson.
Another parent meeting will be held on February 16 at Cross Creek High School at 6:00 p.m. The superintendent will conclude her meetings with pastors on February 17 at A.R. Johnson at 9:00 a.m.
Photojournalist: Brandon Dawson