The Cobb Board of Education will tackle the controversial topic of Critical Race Theory during a work session on Thursday.
Board chairman Randy Scamihorn placed the item on the agenda with the wording “for potential action” but declined to elaborate, telling East Cobb News he’s doing this “for the board to have a discussion.”
The work session begins at 1 p.m. Thursday, the first of the board’s monthly meetings for June.
The board also will hold a public budget forum at 6:30 p.m., preceding a 7 p.m. business meeting at which it is expected to adopt a fiscal year 2022 operating budget.
You can view the agendas for all the meetings by clicking here. After the work session there is a scheduled executive session.
But it’s at the afternoon meeting that figures to draw the most attention, especially the Critical Race Theory item.
Last month, Cobb superintendent Chris Ragsdale announced that he has no intention of introducing the subject into the Cobb County School District curriculum.
At the same time, the Cherokee County Board of Education voted to ban the teaching of CRT during a packed meeting.
The Georgia Board of Education, at the behest of Gov. Brian Kemp and Attorney General Chris Carr, voted last week to do the same.
Some Cobb parents have been using the public comment period at board meetings to denounce CRT, with one telling the school board last month that “we need an honest conversation about race, this isn’t it. This is indoctrination.”
Critical Race Theory has come up recently in Georgia and other states, but the concept was developed in the 1970s by academics and legal scholars who argued that racism in America is systemic and structural.
Several books have been published on the topic advancing CRT, but the current wave of political action is being taken up by Republican elected officials.
The Cobb school board has a 4-3 Republican majority and has clashed on a number of topics over the last two years, including an anti-racism resolution last summer.
The four school board Republicans also voted to abolish a newly-approved committee in November to examine naming policies for Cobb school district schools and buildings.
Among those facilities targeted for a name change is Wheeler High School, named after a Confederate Civil War general.
After the Cobb CRT comments last month, Charisse Davis, one of the three black Democratic board members, noted that “the Critical Race Theory (CRT) debate has been bizarre…mainly how it became a scripted conservative talking point 40+ years after its inception.”
A group calling itself Concerned in Cobb County School District is gathering outside the district office before the Thursday school board meetings “to to challenge the Superintendent’s harmful position on Critical Race Theory and talking about race/racism at all. We also aim to demonstrate support for the three board members who are attempting to ensure an equitable education for ALL students.”
The school board will consider a proposed FY 2022 budget of $1.5 billion that includes an employee pay raise.
The budget proposal proposes holding the line on the school district’s property tax rate of 18.9 mills and using $51 million in reserve funding to reach a balance (budget summary here).
Also projected for FY 2022, which begins on July 1, is a 5.54 percent growth in the Cobb tax digest.
More Cobb school district budget and financial data can be found by clicking here.
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