Butler and Sumter County Schools Didn't Make the Grade

Butler Co. School Superintendent Mike Looney
Butler Co. School Superintendent Mike Looney

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The federal government's No Child Left Behind program requires schools across the country to reach certain levels of achievement. If they do, they're said to have achieved AYP. It's a measure of progress toward the goal of 100 percent of students achieving state standards in at least reading and math. In Butler County, despite other notable achievements in the last couple of years, no school in the system achieved AYP. A problem the superintendent is tackling head on.

The folks in Butler County never dreamed they would be in this predicament. School Superintendent Mike Looney says, "We're disappointed but we're not going to make excuses. We're going to dust ourselves off and carry on." The problem is not one but all Butler County schools, across the board, failed to make the grade in just one subject area.  "We know what we need to do to improve. Our reading scores for special ed students which is the area we fell short in and we're going to develop action plans to take care of that problem," says Looney.

The Superintendent says his school system has come so far this past year making 96% of its goals. In fact, it's still going through changes and making improvements. The county recently voted to spend $30,000,000 on school construction and the Superintendent admits with all the building and renovations going on he might have taken his eye off the achievement ball but he says not anymore. "The bottom line is all of our schools are in the same boat and that is we didn't do a good enough job with our special education students and while we certainly didn't want to deal with this news, it is what it is, but we're anxious to get next year's report out. We'll be working hard between now and then to get it right."

If the best is making the AYP list then the worst is making the school improvement list. Butler County schools did "not" make the school improvement list because you have to miss AYP two years in a row to be included in that category.

Sumter County was the only other county to miss making AYP in that system. The problem was also reading. Special ed students in the elementary and middle schools and across the board at the high school level failed to pass that part of the program.