Thursday, June 28, 2007
IDA wants school study
By SUE WATSON
The Marshall County Industrial Development Authority has approved a comprehensive study of the county and Holly Springs school districts’ present and future capacities, programs and organizational structures.
The IDA also wants to look at the districts’ plans to meet the educational goals of each school.
Executive director Bill Renick said the IDA believes that economic development and workforce development cannot be addressed without addressing education and the high school dropout rate in Marshall County.
“This is not to be critical of anyone and it is not something that can be done overnight, but we just know this is something we have to do,” Renick told the Marshall County Board of Supervisors at the June 18 meeting.
“Our reason for taking the lead on this is because economic development and workforce are so tightly tied to education. We know we have to face that and we need some outside help to do it.”
A recent site visit by a Toyota supplier pointed to Marshall County’s high dropout rate, which by unofficial estimates is around 30 percent, Renick said.
“The dropout rate is further justification for the need to take a serious look at education,” he said. “IDA is not a political organization and we may be better positioned to take a look at some of the hard facts. And we are willing to do that.”
IDA is willing to look for funding for the comprehensive assessment of needs and projected growth in needs for education, he said, again emphasizing that calling for an indepth study does in no way criticise educators, administrators or trustees in the school districts.
“We know this costs money and we’re willing to pursue it further, even if IDA has to invest some of our own money in the study,” Renick said. “Even if we were a level five school, education is something you never give up on. You still look for ways to improve.”
Renick said the successful bid by the PUL Alliance to get Toyota to build an assembly plant in Union County is backed up by the facts that all schools in the PUL Alliance are at Level 5 and they never stop working to improve education.
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