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No change yet in area natural gas regulation
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If you’ve been wondering about something in your community, Ask The Times is your place to get answers. The following questions were submitted by readers and answered through the efforts of our news staff.

It was mentioned as a possibility that the area served by Atmos might be deregulated due to the sale to Liberty and give consumers a choice of gas companies. I have not seen any updates, has this been finalized?

Tom Bond, director of utilities with the Public Service Commission, which oversees natural gas services, said there are no current plans to deregulate the area.

Under state law, Liberty would have to choose to become an electing distribution company in order for that to happen.

“Liberty has not made such an election and has not given the commission staff any indication that it is interested in pursuing deregulation of its natural gas service in Georgia,” Bond said.

The Times covered the Teacher Keys Effectiveness System, but how are school administrators evaluated?

Along with the teacher evaluation system — which judges teachers using administrator observations, student surveys and student test scores — the Georgia Department of Education also implemented a Leader Keys Effectiveness System.

The system judges school leaders on a number of different qualities. The first part, the Leader Assessment on Performance Standards, looks at four different areas.

  • School leadership: Fosters success in students by creating a shared vision of teaching and developing a positive school climate.
  • Organizational leadership: Plans and makes decisions based on established guidelines and oversees the school’s operation.
  • Human resources leadership: Selects and supports quality personnel and fairly evaluates that personnel.
  • Professionalism and communication: Demonstrates ethics, engages in professional development and communicates effectively.

Evaluators observe the leaders, look over documentation they submit, and grade them in the different categories.

Leaders are also assessed on student growth and academic achievement, judged by test scores on standardized tests like the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test and End of Course Tests. The category also looks at reducing the gap in achievement between high achieving and low achieving groups of students and students’ performance on Student Learning Objectives, which are assessments given to courses that teach material not included on the CRCT. School systems are currently working to develop those objectives.

Leaders are also judged in the Governance and Leadership category, which looks at student attendance, retention of effective teachers and climate surveys, which are given to faculty and staff to gauge their perceptions of the leader.

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