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Monday, December 9, 2013 - 2:45am

Interim Bibb County Schools Leader Sees Progress

Though Steve Smith is about midway through a one-year stint as interim leader of Bibb County schools, he says there is still a way to go to improve the school system.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” he said in an hour-long interview with The Telegraph. “... I think we have probably 90 percent of the problems identified. We have worked through a plan to address the problems. But we’re in different phases, depending upon the problem, different phases of implementation.”

Some of those plans will be launched, and even completed, in the next few months. Starting Monday, Smith will present his ideas for a five-year facilities plan that will include school closures and another sales-tax referendum. The board is beginning the process of funding a replacement for Smith and is also launching a new, redirected wave of technology upgrades.

Smith doesn’t think those are the biggest problems.

“I still want to make more inroads into letting teachers know how much we appreciate them and letting them know that along with the students they’re the most important people in the school system because that’s where the most important work takes place ­­-- between the teacher teaching and the student learning,” Smith said.

He put a deputy in charge of finding ways to reduce paperwork that can distract teachers, and he wants to find a way to let teachers take an hour or two off from work so they can take themselves or their children to doctors’ appointments or other visits. They might be able to get as much as four hours a semester off, starting this spring, Smith proposed.

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