The CRCT mess just got a little messier.
Scrambling to set up makeup classes for the 467 eighth-graders who flunked the math portion of the Criterion Reference Competency Test, Columbia County's school system wound up giving out conflicting dates for the start of the middle-school classes.
Some said the classes were supposed to start Monday. Others said Tuesday. School Board Chairwoman Regina Buccafusco told The Chronicle it was Monday.
Nope. Elementary started Monday; middle school started the next day. So Monday morning, a few parents were upset when they tried to drop off their kids for classes 24 hours early. They were even further annoyed that no one seemed at first to own up to the confusion.
"Here you have a whole system set up to keep children accountable, yet none of the adults want to take responsibility," one of those annoyed parents told me.
Speaking of taking responsibility, the Atlanta paper Monday followed up on Tim Shelnut's recent $40,000 ethics fine for making illegal campaign contributions.
Among other things, the story points out that Shelnut's "voluntary" admission to the State Ethics Commission came only because he was squeezed by the feds investigating one of his big-money recipients: Linda Schrenko.
Shelnut threw a lot of money around, often without regard to political persuasion. He gave money to ex-state school superintendent Schrenko, but he also donated to her nemesis, former Gov. Roy Barnes.
He donated heavily to former state Sen. Charles Walker, but also poured money into the campaign of Gov. Sonny Perdue - who had switched from the Democrat to Republican party while in the state Senate in part because of his opposition to Walker.
And Shelnut gave money to U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood, while also donating to Charles "Champ" Walker Jr. - whom Norwood bitterly opposed in Walker's race against eventual Republican winner Max Burns.
Shelnut then gave money to John Barrow after he beat Burns. Nothing like covering your bases.
Meanwhile, real estate folks are perturbed at their state organization. Shelnut has gotten most of the attention for his $40,000 fine - a record for an individual - yet the Georgia Association of Realtors agreed to pay a fine double that amount for failing to disclose half a million bucks in illegal contributions.
It's the largest fine ever levied by the ethics commission. The illegal contributions and the fine for making them adds up to a whopping $580,000.
As home sales are dipping, you can bet lots of Realtors around the state are raising questions about the GAR's misuse of their dues and PAC money.
Speaking of money, candidates often spend lots of theirs on polling. They want to find out what resonates with the public and how to present their message.
For the second time during this election cycle, U.S. Rep. Paul Broun has released a few tidbits of a poll in the 10th District congressional race.
Typically, candidates release only flattering snippets from their own polls. True to form, Broun's first poll results showed him winning by huge margins; the new poll shows him still winning, though the margin is slightly smaller.
Meanwhile, Promark Research, a Houston-based company, apparently has been conducting telephone surveys recently on behalf of state Rep. Ben Harbin.
In addition to standard questions about performance and name recognition, the poll asks about Harbin's Atlanta DUI arrest. It also includes what could be considered at least one classic "push" poll question regarding Harbin's opponent, Lee Benedict.
If we see any of the results, I'll pass them along.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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