Four new members of the Decatur school board got their official welcome to District 61. Alida Graham, T.J. Jackson, Fred Spannaus and B.A. Buttz were sworn in at Thursday evening's school board meeting. Together the cast of seven is ready to face growing issues like falling test scores and graduation rates.
"Our students are not faring well because they cannot read," Buttz said.
Leading vote getter B.A. Buttz says he would like to establish a solid reading program.
"Without a reading foundation, all else is irrelevant in education," he said.
An education and a school system the board hopes to strengthen over time.
"The first thing that we need to look at is the learning environment to make sure that all students have the opportunity to learn effectively in their classroom," said new board member Graham.
"The biggest goals for the board is how can we help the teachers and the staff," Buttz said.
A hard task when the district had to make nearly $8 million in cuts just this year and likely more in the future.
"We're being already asking that the staff do more with less and, uh, that can't be a status quo," Graham said.
Because even with a shrinking budget, they'd like to see the experience for students grow.
This evening the board also elected a new President Brian Hodges and Vice President Sherri Perkins. Hodges addressed the retirement of superintendent Gloria Davis. He said they are going to start the process of looking for a new superintendent early and involve the community in that decision.
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