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.