Tim Williams, director of maintenance and transportation, said evaluations are under way at certain sites surrounding the site — between Pennington Avenue and South Broad, East Main and West Glover streets — to make sure everything is environmentally sound. All that’s left to do before the construction company can break ground is finalizing property acquisitions.
“I am incredibly excited about this project, and I think this is a real opportunity for us to have a school that will be a model, not only for our community, but for the entire state,” said Superintendent Jeff Bearden. “We should be opening in August of 2014.”
Director of Finance Steve Atha gave a report on the 60-month, $30.1 million SPLOST III program.
He said January collections were projected at $502,729.50. The actual amount collected was $467,651.31 — which represents money from the December 2012 tax period that was paid out in January — showing a shortfall of $35,078.
The cumulative SPLOST total was $18,683,035, compared to the projected amount of $22,120,098, showing a shortfall of 3,437,062.40. Atha said there are 16 payments left to be received for SPLOST III which will expire in May 2014.
It was the first official board meeting for the newly hired Bearden, who said he was impressed with the faculty, staff and students at the schools.
“This is my fifth week as your superintendent of schools and I have had the opportunity now to visit all the schools at least once,” Bearden said during the meeting. “I have to say, I’m incredibly impressed.”
He said what struck him the most about the schools was the high expectations of students, and even of the teachers. He said after meeting with a number of teachers, he would ask them what made them proud of their school system, and often they would comment on the high expectations they have for their students’ achievements.
“One of the teachers made that statement and then she paused and added, ‘I’ve worked in other school systems and this is a tough place to work. And I say that with a lot of pride because there’s high expectations, not only of my students but high expectations of me as a professional staff member.’ And that really made a strong impression on me,” Bearden said.
The Board unanimously approved a first reading of the proposed calendar for the 2013-2014 school year and Bearden said the next school year may have fewer furlough days that the current one.
“This current school year, we have 10 furlough days for staff,” Bearden explained. “This proposed calendar shows eight furlough days for staff. We’re hoping to get two days back, but we’re not absolutely certain that we’ll be able to do that.”
He said if they are able to add two working days back to the calendar, the dates would be July 30 and May 20 as planning days. “We’re hopeful that we can give two (furlough days) back, and if we are, these are the two that I recommend,” he said. “If, for some reason, once we get to the budget process, we realize we need to keep our furlough days at 10 days, those two additional days will be July 30 and May 20.”
Bearden said the system’s fall and Christmas breaks would align with Floyd County Schools’ break, which is good as some Rome City faculty members have children in county schools.
Previous report and site plan
Report on school SPLOST program