AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Richmond County school leaders finalize the budget for the the coming school year but tonight’s meeting ended in a heated exchange.

School Board member Dr. Wayne Frazier refused to approve the 2022-2023 school year budget, and he says it’s because the district isn’t performing well according to the state.

“We make excuses about for the last 15 to 20 years that the children are too bad or the parents not doing they job, but we can always find funding money to build more schools and whatever else we need,” said school board member Wayne Frazier.

Dr. Frazier says since he’s been a board member the Richmond County School District has received a failing grade from the state.

“We have a failing school system as it relates to academics. We had a ‘D’ statewide and this year we had an ‘F’,” said Frazier.

He’s referring to the schools CCRPI score. NewsChannel 6 investigated those claims and the latest score from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement was back in 2019 which Richmond County received a 59.3 percent.

Dr. Frazier says, “I believe the test scores as a system is low, is not because of the teachers, not because of the administration, but because right now the board as a board is not communicating effectively with each other as it relates to academic achievement.”

The state’s website does point out that recent scores will not be available for 2020-2021 because that school year was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. But GreatSchools.org, which is a reputable nonprofit website that releases ratings on school districts and schools within those districts did release an overall rating for Richmond schools for the 2020-2021 academic school year. That rating shows that many schools within Richmond County School district are below average in school quality giving the district a 37 percent rating.

“The community needs to stop depending on the board or elected officials to make a difference without your input. We need the community to help us do our job. You voted for us, now hold us accountable to do our job. You can’t do that without getting engaged. We need community engagement to help our children,” said Frazier.

Despite Frazier’s disapproval, the 2022-2023 school year budget was still approved.