State legislation that will create an at-large elected school board chairman in Columbia County wasn't ready in time for school board members to preview at their Tuesday meeting.
But state Sen. Jim Whitehead, R-Evans, who proposed Senate Bill 312, did send a letter to the board detailing the changes to the voting structure of the school board.
If it passes, the election changes would go into effect in 2006 and create the countywide elected chairman position. It also will reduce the number of school board districts from five to four and redraw the school board's district lines to coincide with the Columbia County Commission.
Some board members stated their displeasure with Mr. Whitehead's legislation.
"My suggestion would be just throw it in the trash," board member Mildred Blackburn said.
Currently, the bill is tied up in legislative council, but it is expected to appear on the Senate floor for a vote Thursday, members of Whitehead's Senate staff said Tuesday.
Trustee Wayne Bridges said the timing of the bill's vote made it pointless to discuss it.
"When we meet again in two weeks it's going to be a done deal," he said. "Personally, I don't think there's something to discuss."
In order to stagger the voting of the trustees, the legislation calls for a general election vote for the school board chairman in 2006, but only for a two-year term. The next vote, in 2008, and all elections thereafter, will be for four-year terms.
The bill would put board members Regina Buccafusco and Mike Sleeper into the same voting district, District 3, which favors Sleeper since he took office more recently, according to Whitehead's letter.
The change will force Buccafusco to run for the board chairman position, or not seek re-election, the letter stated.
A race for the District 3 school board seat won't take place until 2008, according to the letter.
Bridges will move from District 2 to District 1 and is up for re-election in 2008. Blackburn will be redrawn from District 3 to District 2 and is up for re-election in 2006.
Board member Roxanne Whitaker keeps the same district number, District 4, but the lines will be redrawn. She is up for re-election in 2008.
Also at the meeting, the board approved minor changes to the sex education curriculum of public school students.
At a Feb. 22 board meeting, Bridges questioned the curriculum, saying a requirement to teach about contraceptives seemed counterproductive to abstinence-based lessons. At Tuesday's meeting, Schools Superintendent Tommy Price told the board that the state requires school systems to teach "methods of preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases."
Bridges suggested that sex educators should teach the legal ramifications of sex to teens.
Without mentioning a specific incident, Bridges said the school system was recently embarrassed by students committing sex crimes.
"We need to let kids know the consequences of their actions," he said.
Price said he would consult with health educators, who teach sex education, about including lessons on illegal sex. Any changes to the sex education curriculum will likely have to be approved by a parent committee before coming to the board.
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