Viewpoint: Schools should apply for money

Who would turn down millions of dollars? Dougherty County School Board members, that's who.

It's another in a string of recent decisions by the board that leaves us shaking our heads and wondering if they really have the best interests of our students at heart.

School system staffers spent a lot of time and effort putting together a grant application that could have brought up to $12 million over three years to help turn around two consistently under performing schools.

The federal money would have been used to create new programs at Albany and Dougherty High Schools to try to excite and motivate students and help them succeed. For instance, students would have had the chance to study graphic arts, videography, and law enforcement to prepare for future careers.

But when it came time to send in the application, the school board backed out.

They claim they're worried the grant might not be re-awarded after the first year, and the system could get stuck with the bill. Maybe that's a legitimate concern. But the grant rules would also have forced the system to get rid of the two principals.

Plus, teachers would have had to go through advanced training. Those who didn't meet performance standards would have been fired. To us, that sounds like exactly the right way to hold educators accountable. Apparently, some school board members disagree.

Dougherty and Albany High Schools are failing our kids. Something must be done to shake up the system and turn things around, even if it's a little bit risky. It's a shame our school board doesn't have the guts to take the chance.