New deadline date for Petersburg Schools restructuring plan

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) – A new date is set for Petersburg Public Schools to implement a restructuring plan at the middle school level.

The extension comes after the school system reported twice to the state that it's having trouble finding a qualified company to assist with the project. This is the third time the timeline has changed.

The new target date for Petersburg schools to select a company to come in and run an independently managed middle school is now May 1, 2010. The 2009-2010 school year was initially the target time frame for Petersburg Schools to have an independent middle school option for parents and students.

"The state and Petersburg are in a standoff and the standoff is the state has said do this or else - but they haven't defined else and Petersburg is testing that line," said NBC 12 Education Specialist, Dr. Bill Bosher.

Petersburg school system has stated it has had problems finding a satisfactory vendor for the job. In response, the state department of education is now in the process of compiling a list of qualified companies. The list will be handed over to Petersburg school leaders who will then make a selection.

"It's taken more time than initially anticipated but we're nearing a conclusion of that process," said VDOE Spokesperson, Charles Pyle.

School leaders say it's unlikely the process will be delayed again.

"What we communicated to Petersburg is they are to make this selection by May first," said Pyle.

The middle school option will give parents of 6th and 7th grade students a choice between sending their children to a school run by Petersburg Schools or a middle school operated by an outside company.

"The students in Petersburg have been waiting for quite a few years for some additional options," said Pyle.

The restructuring plan is in response to Petersburg School system not meeting academic benchmarks outlined in a 2006 agreement with the state board of education. The restructuring plan is now expected to be in place by the 2010-2011 school year.

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