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South Fulton parents rally to back school superintendent

A decision to delay the Fulton County Schools superintendent’s annual evaluation has alarmed some parents who want to make sure he remains the district’s leader.

A group called South Fulton Parents for Education is rallying on behalf of Superintendent Jeff Rose. They’ve ordered T-Shirts that say “We support Dr. Rose,” written to board members, and plan to attend upcoming board meetings en masse.

VIDEO: Previous coverage of Jeff Rose

Jeff Rose was named by Fulton school board members as the finalist for the position at a news conference Thursday. (Interview by Rose French / AJC, Video by Hyosub Shin / AJC)

School board president Linda Bryant said the board and Rose agreed to wait until October instead of June to do the review. Rose became superintendent in June of 2016, and she said now that he’s been on the job for two school years there’s more information to review.

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That has led some parents to fear the board may move to replace Rose.

“All that we are trying to do is to make sure that our kids have stability. Fulton has been through so many superintendents,” said Fran Warren, a parent who has helped lead the group with more than 700 members on Facebook. “We need to make sure that Dr. Rose is given a fair chance.”

She said the group appreciates Rose’s work in the south side of the district, where parents previously felt overlooked in favor of the northern half of the district. The district’s north side features more affluent neighborhoods and higher-performing schools.

Rose has been a strong supporter of South Fulton, where he regularly meets with parents and community members and attends events and football games, said parent Willie G. Davis Jr.

“He’s extremely visible, not only in South Fulton but around the district,” Davis said.

The superintendent needs more than a couple of years to turn around schools and improve test scores, he said, adding that many school board members have been on the board for significantly longer.

“I don’t think you can adequately judge a superintendent in two years,” he said.

The board’s consideration of a contract extension would come after the evaluation. Bryant said if the board does nothing, his current contract would be extended by one year and expire in 2020.

“The board will make a determination in October as to where we are with all of the information,” Bryant said.

The state typically releases a report card that grades schools in the fall, but Bryant said the board won’t just consider test scores in its evaluation. Board members also will look at overall student achievement, community involvement, and finances, among other areas.

Asked about her support of the superintendent, Bryant said: “I’m waiting to see the information that he brings us.”

The district did not make Rose available for an interview and instead issued a written statement: “Dr. Rose’s contract is a personnel matter and, as with all employees, his evaluation is confidential and we simply don’t comment on it.”

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