Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

June 4, 2006

Two Lanier BOE resignations offered

LAKELAND — At least two members of the Lanier County Board of Education believe it will take wiping the slate clean and starting over with a blank one to wake the Lanier County School System from its accreditation nightmare.

Erlish Locklear, District 1, and Randy Sirmans, District 4, presented letters of resignation to Lanier County Board of Education Chairman Phillip Connell during a special Friday meeting. At the same time, they also asked for his resignation and that of Heath Wolford, District 2, and Bob Rice, District 3.

“We laid our resignations on the table,” Sirmans said via telephone from his home Sunday afternoon. “However, our resignations were contingent on them resigning as well, which they refused to do. I don’t really know what’s going to happen at this point.”

While Locklear and Sirmans were busy trying to correct an ever-worsening situation in Lakeland, the editorial board of The Valdosta Daily Times was doing the same. On its opinion pages Saturday, the newspaper called for the five members of the Lanier County Board of Education to step aside and allow the rebuilding process to begin.

“We felt like we needed to make a statement, like we needed to stand up for everything right with the Lanier County School System,” Sirmans said. “We were hoping that maybe an interim board could be appointed to come in and establish a little peace. Our county is filled with so much controversy, so much talk, right now. It just needs to stop.”

Initial investigation conducted

In October 2005, the Lanier County School System was placed on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Council on Accreditation and School Improvement. A SACS CASI special review team noted such action was necessary for the rest of the 2005-06 academic year due to violations of the accrediting body’s governance standards.

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