Empty desks in classroom (copy)

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GREENSBORO — Guilford County Schools had fewer schools that made it into the state’s top category for academic growth for 2019 than it did for 2017.

That revelation came from data shared at a Guilford County Board of Education meeting Tuesday night. However, school leaders also pointed to factors outside of the district’s control that are contributing to that drop.

The percent of schools exceeding expected growth on end-of-year state tests dropped from 32.5 percent of schools for 2017 to 22 percent for 2019. That runs counter to the district’s goal of increasing the percent of schools exceeding growth by 50 percent.

Elementary and middle schools are actually doing a bit better than in 2017. Where the district is really seeing a drop is among high schools.

School leaders pointed out the decrease came as the state made changes to accountability standards. First, the state removed biology tests — where the district fared reasonably well — from counting toward their growth score. There were also changes in math that may have hurt high schools as well.

Besides these changes, Superintendent Sharon Contreras said the district is also facing increasing rates of poverty and decreasing rates of readiness among incoming kindergartners. Despite this, she said the progress schools have been able to make is impressive.

Earlier in the meeting, school board members voted to approve a resolution formalizing the budget they passed at their meeting in December.

The district has yet, however, to bring forward an expected amendment to that budget that would provide for a raise for bus drivers based on some potential funding from the Guilford County Board of Commissioners.

Speaking prior to the meeting, Chief Financial Officer Angie Henry said the district recently completed calculations for that raise and forwarded those to the county. 

Henry said the district may be able to get raises for bus drivers using money the district already has budgeted.

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Contact Jessie Pounds at 336-373-7002 and follow @JessiePounds on Twitter.​

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