Board of Education: Reserve funds likely to remain untapped
by Lindsay Field
July 18, 2013 12:01 AM | 2336 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Randy Weiner
Randy Weiner
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MARIETTA — Due to conservative budgeting and student enrollment growth, the Marietta Board of Education doesn’t anticipate dipping into its reserve fund as originally planned.

Last summer, projecting revenue shortfalls, the board authorized the use of $3.7 million in reserve funding to help balance its Fiscal 2013 budget.

Yet using that reserve funding turned out to be unnecessary. Instead, the district is trying to figure out what to do with an expected $100,000 surplus.

On Tuesday, the board unanimously approved transferring any overages from Fiscal 2013 into the district’s $4.4 million building fund.

Fiscal 2013 ended June 30, but board Chairman Randy Weiner said it will take a few weeks before the final numbers from the budget year are available.

“We approved fund transfers to this account because it’s where we’ve been pulling money from lately and we need to replenish it,” Weiner said.

The district most recen-tly used money from the building fund to pay for the $309,522 bus parking lot near Marietta Sixth Grade Academy off Aviation Road, which was completed last October, and for the construction and renovation of a $256,000 dance studio and band room at Marietta High School.

Weiner said the excess revenue in the Fiscal 2013 budget is due to conservative budgeting by the district’s finance staff and growth of about 200 students in the almost 8,500-student school system.

More technology purchases

The board also approved a $471,821 contract with Dell computer company to buy 623 laptops and 28 laptop carts for fourth- and fifth-grade students in English/language arts and social studies classes in seven elementary schools. SPLOST III is funding the purchase.

“This will bring us to a 1:2 computer ratio for all fourth- and fifth-grade classes,” Weiner said.

This means that there will be at least one computer for every two students at the elementary school level.

Laptops should be accessible by students when they return in mid-August.

Weiner said the purchase is related to the district’s technology plan, which also was reviewed at the same meeting.

Board member Stuart Fleming was pleased with the update. “This plan is well-suited for the needs of Marietta City Schools students,” he said. “It involves the district putting techno-logy in the hands of students in kindergarten through 12th grade, and I think the plan is spot on, well defined, well thought out and well positioned with the growth of this school system.”

There are 5,411 computers — including desktop and laptop units for students, administrators, teachers and technology staff — currently in use throughout the school district.

The goal of the ongoing technology plan, which was approved by the district earlier this year, is to have one computer for every two students in kindergarten through fifth grade and one computer for every student in sixth through 12th grades.

The overall anticipated cost to make this ratio a reality is $1.7 million, which is funded in the district’s Fiscal 2014 budget.

Other contracts approved

In other business, the board approved:

• A $10,625 contract with Blackboard Connect of Washington, D.C., to purchase the “Parent Alert Notification System” for 8,500 students. This is an annual, five-year guaranteed cost that will help alert parents when a student misses school, or if there’s a school emergency, cancellation, delayed start time, event or program. District spokesman Thomas Algarin said parents or guardians are alerted via text message, email or in an automated voice recording;

• A $453,518, one-year contract with Cobb & Douglas Public Health to employ, train and supervise school nurses; and

• A $161,655, one-year contract with Compass Learning of Austin, Texas, for the Compass Learning instruction software, which provides testing for the newly-approved $101,448 Measures of Academic Progress test that will be given to students in K-8 beginning next year in place of four tests students took this past school year.

These three contracts will be paid for out of the district’s general fund.

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