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Millage hearing dates, uniform policy top BOE agenda
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The Effingham County Board of Education will have public hearings June 5 at 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. and June 18 at 6 p.m. regarding the millage rate for the 2008 fiscal year.

The board will adopt the millage rate on June 18 at 7 p.m. The board is proposing to keep the current millage rate of 15.57.

The board set the millage meeting dates at its meeting Wednesday and also heard from a parent concerned about the newly-adopted uniform policy.

“I am here to voice my opposition to the mandatory uniform dress code the Effingham County School Board is proposing,” Terri Patillo said. “A comprehensive dress code already exists within the schools. It only requires strict rather than selective enforcement to be effective.”

She said voluntary uniforms are a great idea, but these are public schools. Patillo said that if the school board requires uniforms, the board should be responsible for the cost of the uniforms.

“The school board may well be expecting conformity with uniforms,” Patillo said. “Conformity of apparel does not necessarily lead to conformity of behavior and thought. In fact that is a very dangerous path to tread. Mandatory uniforms do not always lead to your best possible conclusion.”

Patillo said many believe by having uniforms students will no longer be focused on their clothing. She said she doesn’t think this is a valid argument because students will still be dressed in clothing that costs various amounts.

She said it will not solve the issue of the haves and the have nots, but will make the issue more visible.

“It is not the business of the school board to become involved in issues of class,” Patillo said. “Your mission is to educate our children, and to provide a safe environment conducive to learning. In that respect the school board would be better to confront the issues of behavior and discipline.”

Patillo said disruptive students should be removed from class, and the board must “confront those parents who wish our teachers to be baby sitters rather than educators.”

“Uniforms are a band-aid that cover up a very deep wound — heal the wound,” Patillo said. “Confront the deeper issues and begin healing those issues.”

Board Chairperson Vera Jones thanked Patillo for coming to speak to the board and told the others in attendance if they would also like to address the board to contact the superintendent’s office to be put on the agenda.