During the hour-long discussion, the board learned more about the costs of the two recommended career academies, which would be about $29.8 million each; a $29.9 million replacement school for Osborne High; and the possibility of opening three elementary schools for $23.3 million each to replace six current schools.
The career academies would be located in north and south Cobb, and Education Planners, who created the notebook, has recommended that the district build an elementary school to replace Brumby; a second to replace and combine Milford, LaBelle and Belmont Hills; and a third to replace and combine Powers Ferry, Sedalia Park and Eastvalley.
The 220-page project notebook also included details about addition and modification costs at 11 schools, which comes in at about $122.3 million; infrastructure and individual school needs, $176.1 million; security and transportation, $99.3 million; and technology, $150.6 million.
* Additions and modifications include new gymnasiums, theaters, orchestra and choral rooms, and replacing temporary building for Campbell, Harrison, Lassiter, North Cobb, Pope, Walton, South Cobb and Wheeler high schools and Mount Bethel, Sope Creek and Tritt elementary schools.
* Infrastructure and individual school needs include replacing doors, windows and hardware, electrical work, furnishings and bringing athletic facilities up to Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
* Security and transportation expenses include buses, vehicles and equipment purchases, food services upgrades, surveillance cameras and textbooks.
* Under technology, the board is looking at replacing obsolete computers, music instruments and classroom informational systems.
The bulk of the notebook, 169 pages, consists of lists of individual school projects submitted by the district.
“We have taken $2 billion worth of needs down to … $717 million,” Deputy Superintendent of Operations Chris Ragsdale said. “We had to make a lot of dramatic and drastic cuts, but we are confident that the notebook is data-driven and based on needs.”
James Wilson with Education Planners Inc. of Marietta said he developed the notebook based on feedback from the district staff and employees about the list of needs.
“We have been diligent to prioritize and spend money wisely,” Wilson told the board Wednesday. “We have worked from the top down to get the available needs. It’s important that we do this SPLOST correctly.”
Board Chair Scott Sweeney reminded the board that “this is truly a draft at this point. (The notebook) will evolve as we get community feedback.”
The board also considered and ultimately rejected a request from member Tim Stultz to include the two charter schools in the SPLOST IV notebook.
Stultz said a member of the International Academy of Smyrna asked if the district would include adding their needs list to the referendum, and their list, along with Kennesaw Charter’s, was emailed to Ragsdale.
Ragsdale said Smyrna’s list included a gymnasium, an auditorium, construction and a cafeteria. Kennesaw’s included outdoor surveillance cameras and whiteboards.
“We can’t maintain what we have, and I can’t see us funding a charter school outside of public funding,” member Alison Bartlett said.
Kathleen Angelucci said she couldn’t support using SPLOST IV funds for a building that does not belong to the district.
Lynnda Eagle said funding charter schools would fundamentally alter the system.
“We would have to change how someone applies for a charter,” Lynnda Eagle said. “This would negate the original charter, I believe.”
The full notebook of projects has been posted on the district’s website. The board is expected to vote on the notebook of projects in November or December, and residents will vote on the sale tax in March 2013.
The most recent SPLOST, which was approved in September 2008, will run through Dec. 31, 2013. If voters approve SPLOST IV, it would begin Jan. 1, 2014, and run through Dec. 31, 2018.