School Board OKs Petruzielo final contract, talks new standardized testing
by Michelle Babcock
August 16, 2014 12:10 AM | 4007 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — The Cherokee School Board approved the final renewal of Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo’s contract in a 6-1 vote Thursday, setting the stage for Petruzielo to retire in 2016 from the position he’s held since 1999.

The board approved the superintendent’s final contract, set to expire Aug. 20, 2016, and discussed new student testing at the Thursday school board meeting and work session.

School Board member Michael Geist was the only one to vote in opposition of the two-year renewal.

Geist said, “for the most part,” he was a strong supporter of Petruzielo, and “if it were a deciding vote,” his vote would be different.

“The turnaround we’ve had since Dr. Petruzielo got to this system has been remarkable,” Geist said, adding he didn’t think his vote on the contract would be a deciding vote.

Geist said “the short explanation” of why he voted against the extension of Petruzielo’s contract was because he felt there were missed opportunities in the past few years.

“I think that we’ve had opportunities in the last four years to do things a little bit differently and to maybe build some bridges and reduce some of the divisiveness that we’ve had in this county up until recently,” Geist explained before the vote. “I think we’ve had some missed opportunities in regard to that.”

School Board member Rob Usher made the motion to extend the contract with Petruzielo and School Board member Patsy Jordan seconded.

“I appreciate the votes of confidence I’ve received from the School Board with eight renewals of my contract, and I greatly appreciate the support of all of our employees, parents, volunteers and partners during my tenure thus far,” Petruzielo said. “While these next two years will be my last in this role, I will be bringing the same passion for public education and for the success of every child that we serve as I have every day for the last 16 years. We have extraordinary projects in the wings, and I can’t wait to see them take flight.”

Petruzielo’s annual salary is $224,702, not including benefits, such as a $600 monthly automobile allowance, insurance coverage for himself and his family for health, dental and vision, and an annual premium paid by the Board of Education for a $250,000 life insurance policy.

Before the Board of Education met for its regular meeting, school board members and district staff held their Trends in Education Strategic Work Session.

In the work session, board members heard from district staff members about new student standardized tests that will be used this school year, along with other trends in education.

This will be the first school year students in third-through 12th grade across the state will take the Georgia Milestones Assessment, which will replace Criterion-Referenced Competency Test and End of Course Tests, which had been given to students in Georgia schools since 2000 and 2002, respectively.

The Georgia Milestones test will be a single assessment system, instead of a series of tests such as students have taken in the past.

The assessment will include questions in English language arts and mathematics, based on the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards, and questions in science and social studies based on the Georgia Performance Standards.

Within five years, the Georgia Milestones Assessment will be given to students completely online.

Also at the meeting, the school board was given a “clean audit” report for its 2013-14 fiscal year finances, during a presentation by independent auditing firm Williamson & Co.

“Our School District is our community’s largest organization, so it’s important for the entire community that our financial house remains in order and has received this clean opinion,” Petruzielo said.

The full audit report is available online at the school district website, by visiting portal.cherokee.k12.ga.us. Select “Open Government Project” on the left column menu and select the “Financial Audits” section, under the “Budget and financial documents” heading.

The school board also recognized this school year’s Student Advisor Parth Patel of Woodstock High School and Student Delegates: from ACE Academy, Richard “Alex” Fulbright; from Cherokee High School, Kathryn Huller; from Creekview High School, Calli Ruschmeyer; from Etowah High School, Rushay Amarath-Madav; from River Ridge High School, Molly Herring; and from Sequoyah High School, Isabelle Riddle.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 4, at 7 p.m., at the Historic Canton High School Board Auditorium, at 11 Academy St. in Canton.

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