7/6/11 Cox sworn in as new head of school system

Judge Jim Roberson administers the oath of office Tuesday to Lillie Cox, the new superintendent of the Alamance-Burlington School System.

Submitted photo

Judge Jim Roberson administers the oath of office Tuesday to Lillie Cox, the new superintendent of the Alamance-Burlington School System.

Cox sworn in as new head of school system
Budget concerns among hurdles facing superintendent
The Times-News 7/6/11     
Reprinted with permission.

 It’s official: Lillie Cox is superintendent of the Alamance-Burlington School System.

 Cox was sworn in to her new job during a brief ceremony at noon Tuesday.

 Interim Superintendent Del Burns had worked in the system from January through last week. He filled the gap created when former Superintendent Randy Bridges left in late 2010 for a school system in Virginia.

 Cox took the oath of office as administered by Chief Judge James K. Roberson of Alamance County District Court.  Members of the Alamance-Burlington Board of Education, along with several school system administrators, were present for the ceremony.

 Roberson voiced appreciation for what the school system does for young people in the community, highlighted the importance of the superintendent’s role and promised continued support of the schools from the court system.

 After repeating the oath of office, Cox said she hopes to make all decisions to serve the best interests of the county’s children.

 The Alamance-Burlington Board of Education voted this spring to hire Cox as superintendent. She has most recently been superintendent of the Hickory Public Schools, a small system to the west. Before that, she was assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in the Alamance-Burlington system.

 Her starting salary is $175,000 per year.

 The issues in front of Cox, other administrators and school board members as she begins the job, range from academic to financial.

 Later this summer, school systems throughout North Carolina will learn how students performed during 2010-11 as measured by state and federal standards. The N.C. Department of Public Instruction will release preliminary results July 21 about which schools made what is known as adequate yearly progress as defined by the federal No Child Left Behind legislation.

 In the longer term, there’s already anxiety about the budget for 2012-13, not long after local and state governments approved school system funding for 2011-12. Burns, who led the system in putting together a 2011-12 budget that reflected reduced state funding, said the 2012-13 budget will be much tougher barring a dramatic turnaround in revenue. That year, he pointed out, the system won’t have $4.2 million in federal Edujobs money it used for 2011-12. It will also have less money in local reserves.

 School board members Tony Rose and Patsy Simpson have asked for a meeting between Cox and the board as early as possible, so that expectations and thoughts can be shared with everyone present.