Cobb school board to address budget, new superintendent
by Hannah Morgan
March 12, 2014 04:00 AM | 4431 views | 7 7 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dr. Michael Hinojosa is all smiles after The Cobb Board of Education approved his resignation and he will be leaving his post May 31.<br>Staff/Jeff Stanton
Dr. Michael Hinojosa is all smiles after The Cobb Board of Education approved his resignation and he will be leaving his post May 31.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
MARIETTA — Cobb’s Board of Education will meet today for more talks on how to replace Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and updates to next year’s budget.

The board has met a handful of times since Hinojosa announced his resignation in February and discussed their options for finding the next leader for Georgia’s second-largest school system.

Board member David Banks said discussions are expected to continue in a closed-door meeting today, and board members might start looking through applications for an interim superintendent.

Banks said he didn’t expect the board would be ready to name an interim Wednesday.

Brad Johnson, chief financial officer for the district, is planning to deliver an update on the district’s budget to the board today.

State legislators are weeks away from passing a budget, which is expected to include more money for education than last year, Johnson said.

If Gov. Deal’s proposed budget is passed, Johnson said an estimated $30 million could trickle down to the school district, which could help to balance the district’s 2014-15 school year budget, which Johnson has previously predicted might fall roughly $80 million short.

“It’s looking really good,” Johnson said. “It’s going to be a good component in solving the budget deficit.”

Literacy initiatives, career academy plans

The board is also expected to discuss creating initiatives to keep students struggling with reading on track over the summer break, said board member David Morgan.

He believes struggling 5th- and 8th-grade students in his south Cobb post, and at schools across the district, could benefit from extra reading activities at schools over the summer months, as these grades are “transition years” for students bridging between elementary, middle and high school.

“Trends have plagued Cobb for quite some time, students in the south part of the county, by and large are not doing very well. I think one thing we need to do is provide opportunities in the summer to remain immersed in literacy,” Morgan said.

He hopes Cobb teachers will be able to create unique summer programs, separate from summer school, which will be made available to struggling students.

“This needs to be an investment by the district,” Morgan said.

Vice Chair Randy Scamihorn said he has asked Hinojosa to prepare an update on the status of the district’s plans for three career academies to be positioned across the county. Now that collections for SPLOST IV, a 1-cent sales tax voters approved in March, began in January, Scamihorn is anxious to begin the planning process.

“We need to start looking at what general direction we want to go now,” Scamihorn said.

A roughly 40-person committee made up of Cobb residents was formed last summer, Scamihorn said, and he is curious to hear what, if anything, they have discussed.

The district initially planned to build a single career academy with $30 million of SPLOST IV funds, but the board changed its mind at the last minute, Hinojosa has said. The academies will be built into pre-existing schools as wings to the schools for roughly $10 million each and are expected to be completed by 2017. Hinojosa has said Osborne High School is expected to get a career academy, as well as one school in northeast Cobb and another in west Cobb.

The district is expected to collect roughly $717 million with the new tax, which will run through Dec. 31, 2018.

Updates to schools with SPLOST III

The school board is expected to discuss hiring contractors to begin a number of construction projects funded with SPLOST III funds.

Kell High School, in east Cobb, is expected to receive a new bus loading canopy, new stage lighting in the auditorium and a few modifications with lockers by July, according to the agenda. The school board is expected to discuss hiring Decatur-based Diversified Construction of Georgia Inc. to make the school renovations with $469,400 SPLOST III funds, according to the board agenda.

Shallowford Falls Elementary School, in east Cobb, is expected to receive $398,000 worth of renovations by July, including improvements to flooring and additional parking spaces at the school, according to the agenda. The board will discuss hiring Alpharetta-based Reliant Construction Inc. to complete the work.

The board is expected to discuss hiring College Park-based Triad Construction Co. Inc. to complete a number of construction projects at Smitha Middle School, off of Power Springs Road in Marietta. Students at Smitha can expect to have a number of new auditorium seats, new window blinds in the media center and theatre lighting and sound equipment, according to the agenda, by July, which is anticipated to cost $1.39 million of SPLOST III funds.

The board will meet at the district’s central offices, 514 Glover St., Marietta, at 8:30 a.m.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Book Choices
March 12, 2014
Yes, some parents are at fault for not encouraging their child to read, but it would also help students to become more interested in reading if more books were chosen or suggested that interest today's students. Most students do not want to read the books of the 1940s or 1950s. Make it pertinent to grab their interest and then eventually they will read more types of books.
March 12, 2014
I have a neighbor with a 5-year old who may be available to be the next superintendent. Anything would be an improvement over Hinojosa who selfishly just wasted our time and money. He was only looking out for Numero Uno.

30 million towards an 80 million dollar shortfall?! Double thumbs up on that math. We have a revenue problem, folks. We need to raise the millage. We need to stop letting the illegals suck out all of our resources. Can you even fathom hoards of American children entering Mexico and demanding goods and services and benefits? Didn't think so. No, I'm not a racist. I care for children but our American born children are getting the shaft.

Our amazing school system is pooping out before our very eyes. My kids are grown and gone but it absolutely breaks my heart to see it heading south. It also terrifies me because of what is going to happen to our property values. When the school system is weak, that's the first thing to go.
waste of money
March 12, 2014
Why in the world anyone would spend one dollar on lockers other than PE lockers for athletic equipment? We are so close to going completely digital that lockers will be rendered useless. Most new schools are being built without lockers because those school leaders are actually forward thinking enough to realize that school books are an endangered species. No offense, but it's time to start embracing the digital age and if you don't believe me, go visit a major university.
English Teatime
March 12, 2014
Agree ... my oldest daughter graduated 10 years ago, and even then, she never used a locker.
Paul Muni
March 12, 2014
The School Board has a habit of counting its' chickens before they hatch. Money you "might" receive from the state legislature cannot be figured into your current budget. Politicians will say ANYTHING to get elected and leave the School Systems holding the bag, if their promise fails to see the light of day.
Very True
March 12, 2014
It is an election year, and Deal is doing everything to get the votes. It has already leaked out that he will pull that money once he is re-elected. CCSD thinks they have to spend every dime. They still need to be very cautious and find new ways to save money. We are still 50 million in the hole. The students and teachers can not continue to suffer. It is time the county cuts costs by making kindergarten half day, cutting the superintendents staff, and stop spending money to survey people!
Parents at fault
March 12, 2014
Mr. Morgan-the parents are at fault for not make sure their children are reading. Education begins and ends in the home. Maybe you should get out their and start a campaign for training parents how to parent these kids!
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides