The groundbreaking aspect of this contract is that the Army and Marines are jointly developing the controls and launcher. Superintendent Don Murphy is hoping additional funding will stay in the state education budget so he can expand the Alabama Reading Initiative in Morgan County schools. According to Murphy, acting State Superintendent Joe Morton said that $26 million for the reading initiative is in the proposed budget that the state Legislature is considering for the 2005 fiscal budget year.

Research shows that if a child leaves third grade and hes behind in reading, its so much harder to catch up. The Alabama Reading Initiative provides research-based professional development for teachers aimed at strengthening reading and helping struggling readers through reading coaches and ARI staff. Danville-Neel and Falkville elementaries joined ARI four years ago, Australian Taxation followed by Priceville and Sparkman elementaries. The state provides funding and training for the original two schools, but Morgan has to pay for Priceville and Sparkman to be in the initiative, including the salaries of a reading coach.

Murphy would like to add at least six reading coaches for 11 elementary/middle schools and five high schools. He estimated the cost would be $350,000, including funding the Priceville-Sparkman reading coach with state money. Murphy said every school does not have to join ARI, but he wants every school to have reading emphasis. Im not saying that schools not in ARI are not doing a good job, Murphy said. Danville-Neel Principal Jeremy Jones said he has been extremely pleased with the success of ARI in his school.

He said ARI is a major factor in his schools improvement from a B- grade in 1999 to an A grade on the Stanford Achievement Tests in 2003. Jones said ARI taught his staff new ways to teach and gave his staff a focus. He said a schools teachers must support the program for it to be successful. ARI didnt put us on the same page, but it did put us in the same chapter, Jones said.


The Cardiff office had 8.7 full-time staff, including 5.7 Investigating or Senior Investigating Officers at the beginning of 2002-03. In July, a temporary part-time administrative assistant was employed for six months to help with an increasing administrative workload. Senior Investigating Officer on a year’s secondment to the NHS, the number and grading of the Office’s administrative posts was reviewed.

That resulted in a decision to appoint a permanent Administrative Assistant and upgrade the existing Administrative Officer to Casework Manager to provide additional support to the remaining Investigating Officers. During 2002-03 69 new complaints were received, a 23% increase on 2001-02. However nine of these were premature complaints about a single Planning Inspectorate decision. Excluding these, the number of new complaints was only slightly higher than last year. View Detail: TDS Nationwide

The number of complaints received has increased by a small amount in each year of WAO’s existence. It seems prudent to assume that the trend will continue. As in previous years, the complaints received included a large proportion that were not investigable, either because they were not within WAO jurisdiction or had not yet completed the local complaints process. Six new investigations were started during the year, two more than in 2001-02. Seven investigations were completed during the year, the same number as in 2001-02.

This was one less than expected because the issue of one report has been delayed by protracted correspondence with the body concerned about an appropriate remedy. For similar reasons the average investigation time remained about the same as last year, when it has been predicted to fall to 53 weeks. Contrary to expectation, two incomplete cases over a year old remained at the year-end. Because of these two cases, the average throughput is unlikely to fall significantly in 2003-04, although we aim to have no cases over a year old at the end of the year. Although very demanding, the performance target of 100% for screening and replying to new cases not within jurisdiction was missed only because one case was delayed by competing priorities.