Petersburg seeks company to run independent middle school

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan - email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Petersburg Public Schools  is having trouble finding a company to come in and run an independently managed middle school. The school system has solicited for the job twice -- but  so far no takers.

This restructuring plan is part of an agreement  with the State Board of Education.  But with no bidders stepping up to run the middle school program, the question now is what's next?

The State Department of Education says it can't comment on this latest development until September -- that's when Petersburg schools is scheduled to present a progress report before the board.

NBC12 Education Specialist Dr. Bill Bosher says the state board of education will likely require the school system to try harder at finding a lead turn around partner -- someone to come into Peabody Middle School  and run an independent program.

"I think what they're going to do now is say send  another RFP -- this time give more flexibility  to the vendors -- give them more specifics in terms of what they're required to do," Dr. Bosher said.

According to the school system's timeline, the bid is to be awarded this week. The vendor - to begin work next week. And the program to be implemented by February 2010.

The superintendent of schools  says it's unclear why no one applied for the job.

"The latest we had with any perspective vendors was during the open meeting which was an informational meeting -- we were questioned and we responded," said Dr. James Victory, Superintendent of Schools, Petersburg.

The restructuring plan is in response to the school system not meeting academic benchmarks  outlined in an agreement  with the state board of education.

Right now, it's only a contingency plan.   If all schools aren't  accredited by September the plan will become a reality.  So far,  only one of seven schools in Petersburg is fully accredited.

"Whatever happens I hope it's in the best interest of our children," he said.

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