why not
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April 18, 2015
Instead of moving the TEXAS to Kennesaw how about moving the GENERAL to Buckhead. The new Atlanta History Center/Cyclorama is going to be unbelievable . As for the mules Jack and Jill, leave them alone, they could not be happier to be out of Georgia.
More teachers
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April 18, 2015
I agree that money should be used to lower class sizes and for staff increase in pay. The board cut teachers pay 5%years ago, and now they gave a 2% increase this year and 4% next year. That is truly only a 1% raise, because they are just giving back what they took away. The study that was completed determined CCSD is 12% behind in teacher pay. General fund should strictly be to hire staff and for salaries! We continue to pay thousands of dollars for these salary studies, yet the board doesn't follow what they have been told. 11% to go people!
Crazy test
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April 18, 2015
The Milestones test,that we are administering right now, is not going to be back before the fall. They are having to hire people to read all of the written responses and grade them. It is not going to work. We test kids to death, and they have to sit there for hours reading and answering questions. Ridiculous!
Cobb Board of Education split on Harmony Leland and Clay elementary rebuild funding
by Philip Clements
April 18, 2015 04:00 AM | 866 views | 1 1 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Nick Parker
Nick Parker
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MARIETTA — Cobb school board members were at odds this week over setting aside $5 million for the rebuild of Harmony Leland and Clay elementary schools in Mableton during a discussion of the superintendent’s proposed fiscal 2016 budget. During the lead-up to deciding what projects to fund with the 1-percent special purpose local option sales tax approved by Cobb voters in 2013, only two elementary schools could be chosen for rebuild, according to Nick Parker, the district’s SPLOST director. Harmony Leland, Clay, Brumby and Mountain View elementary schools were the top finalists and the board chose Brumby and Mountain View to rebuild with SPLOST IV funds. However, because of pleas from the community, the board voted last year to set aside $5 million from its general fund reserves, also called the fund balance, to build a new school in Mableton to replace Harmony Leland and Clay. Harmony Leland parents such as Sharie Bassett told the board at the time that the school, which is tied for the county’s oldest, having been built in 1951, had roof leaks when it rains, cracks in windows and suspected mold in the walls. Parker said a new elementary school would typically cost about $30 million, although he noted it’s difficult to gauge without having a design or location. At the board’s Wednesday meeting, Chairman Randy Scamihorn requested a line item be added to the proposed budget to set aside another $5 million for the possible rebuild project. “The district and board has pledged to south (and) southwest Cobb County to continue giving consideration for rebuild of the Clay (and) Harmony Leland schools,” Scamihorn said. “We will possibly look at that $5 million that we have pledged to come out of the fund balance.” Scamihorn ran into objections from board members David Banks, Scott Sweeney and Susan Thayer. Banks who lobbied last year for the board to rebuild Powers Ferry Elementary, a school in his post, objected to Scamihorn’s request, saying it has nothing to do with the budget. Banks, who represents northeast Cobb, said the school board should include the new elementary school on the project list in the next SPLOST cycle — SPLOST V. A SPLOST V would first have to be approved by voters and begin after SPLOST IV expires in December 2018. “We have never built a new school out of general funds. It’s either been bonds or SPLOST money,” Banks said. “If we want to rebuild Harmony Leland, we need to get it in SPLOST V because it’s going to take about $30 million or north to do it, and we’ve got to find some land to put it on. It can’t be rebuilt where it’s at.” Scamihorn noted it was a line item when the board approved the fiscal 2015 budget last year and said that set a precedent. “I’m not sure that it’s relevant where the funds come from as long as we’ve made a pledge to not forget the good folks in south Cobb County,” said Scamihorn, who represents northwest Cobb. “We’ve already started that set-aside. … We’re not really using it; the money’s still there.” Banks maintained putting the set-aside in as a line item was inappropriate because it is just a reallocation of money in the fund balance and pointed out the reserve fund isn’t included in the budget. “What we take out of the fund balance is for expenditures only — at that time for that fiscal year,” Banks said. Brad Johnson, the district’s chief financial officer, said the board can vote to commit a fund balance to a different category — such as from unassigned to a committed category — which is what the board did last year for the $5 million set-aside. “Many districts have built buildings with general fund money,” Johnson said. “There’s no accounting reason why you can’t do it.” However, he noted Cobb historically uses bonds and SPLOST funds for capital improvements, not the general fund or fund balance. Board member Scott Sweeney, who represents east Cobb, reminded the board of the discussion about fund balance allocations last year, where he suggested using the money to increase the amount of new teaching positions. “I very specifically said we need at least 400 positions,” Sweeney said, which was 100 more than what was approved. “This board may recall that as the school year opened, the superintendent had to come back and ask for more dollars for that very reason.” Sweeney said the district is still about 900 to 1,000 teachers shy of the number it had during the 2008-09 school year. “My deep concern is that we’re sequestering dollars out of the general fund through committing fund balance to specific projects when we’re still chasing trying to reduce classroom sizes and hire new teachers,” he said. Sweeney said the district wants to reduce class sizes, which he says could potentially take 10 years at the current rate, noting the proposed fiscal 2016 budget is only reducing the deficit by 100 teachers and the district is expecting enrollment growth over the next decade. “I think it’s something that we can take a look at later in the year to determine, much like we did with the teacher raises,” Sweeney said, referencing the 1 percent pay restoration the board approved in October. “Let’s see where we are further down the road to see if we have the flexibility.” Scamihorn said a future board could easily take a vote to undo the commitment, noting if the money is needed, it can be accessed. “In my opinion, there’s really very little downside by setting aside that money. It’s more or less a savings account, is it not? In layman’s terms?” he asked Johnson, who confirmed Scamihorn’s description. Board member Susan Thayer, who represents the Smyrna area, said as a new board member, she would not be comfortable voting in favor of setting aside the money until she has had more time to study the issue. “My concern is that I would have to vote against something like that for lack of information where, at a later point, I might support it,” Thayer said. By the end of the discussion, Scamihorn withdrew his motion to give board members time to assess Harmony Leland and other schools if they choose to. The board is expected to vote on whether to approve the tentative budget for the purpose of public advertisement at its April 30 meeting.
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More teachers
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5 Hours Ago
I agree that money should be used to lower class sizes and for staff increase in pay. The board cut teachers pay 5%years ago, and now they gave a 2% increase this year and 4% next year. That is truly only a 1% raise, because they are just giving back what they took away. The study that was completed determined CCSD is 12% behind in teacher pay. General fund should strictly be to hire staff and for salaries! We continue to pay thousands of dollars for these salary studies, yet the board doesn't follow what they have been told. 11% to go people!
A round of apawse: Irish Setter National Specialty members congregate for weeklong show
by Philip Clements
April 18, 2015 04:00 AM | 869 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Charlie Walker of New York is embraced in a congratulatory hug by fellow Irish setter breeder Ann Marie Kubacz of New Jersey after he and his dog, Phyllis, claimed the champion’s title in the ‘Breed By’ class. <br>Staff-Kelly J. Huff
Charlie Walker of New York is embraced in a congratulatory hug by fellow Irish setter breeder Ann Marie Kubacz of New Jersey after he and his dog, Phyllis, claimed the champion’s title in the ‘Breed By’ class.
Staff-Kelly J. Huff
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Seanpat Morna and her owner, Tricia Lyons of Philadelphia, strike a pose for the judge as they compete  in the ‘Breed By’ class.
Seanpat Morna and her owner, Tricia Lyons of Philadelphia, strike a pose for the judge as they compete in the ‘Breed By’ class.
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Judge Deborah Davis gives each entrant in the ‘Breed By’ class a good look as she tries to narrow the field to crown a champion Friday at the Marietta Hilton Hotel & Conference Center.
Judge Deborah Davis gives each entrant in the ‘Breed By’ class a good look as she tries to narrow the field to crown a champion Friday at the Marietta Hilton Hotel & Conference Center.
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Cindy Stanford of California trots her dog, Bella, around the ring in the ‘Breed By’ class.
Cindy Stanford of California trots her dog, Bella, around the ring in the ‘Breed By’ class.
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Award winning K-9 sculptor Leslie Hutto nears completion of another clay Irish setter, which she will cast in bronze at her studio in South Carolina after the end of the 2015 National Specialty Events.
Award winning K-9 sculptor Leslie Hutto nears completion of another clay Irish setter, which she will cast in bronze at her studio in South Carolina after the end of the 2015 National Specialty Events.
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MARIETTA — The Marietta Hilton Hotel & Conference Center was converted into a dog park this week as hundreds of Irish setter owners congregated for the 2015 National Specialty, an annual dog show featuring the Irish setter. On Friday, participants and their dogs traveled around the hotel — and outside for the dogs’ bathroom breaks — perusing all sorts of Irish setter-related items for sale and silent auction. Stickers, magnets, shirts, statues, paintings and jewelry all featured the Irish setter, a large, sleek hunting dog with long-flowing red or chestnut hair cascading from its bottom half. There are about 400 people and 300 dogs at the hotel for this week’s event, according Mindy Higby of Jacksonville, Florida, the show’s chair. “People come from all over the country with their dogs. We’ve got people from Australia, we’ve got people from England, we’ve got people from all over,” Higby said. “They come to the event, they plan for it all year long.” Heidi Laabs of Wisconsin is the president of the Irish Setters Club of America and said the annual specialty show is rotated throughout four regions — it was the southern region’s turn to host it this year. “We had originally planned to be out at Jim Miller Park for our event, but the weather didn’t cooperate,” Laabs said, referencing the rain that has been steadily falling all week. “The hotel has been very gracious in allowing us to use the ballroom for our show and we’re having a great time.” Laurie Loisel of Maryland was at the event with Parker, her 16-month-old Irish setter. Loisel said this is her second time attending the national conference and she loves how the Irish Setter Club supports the older dogs, which are called veterans. “They always have a big entry in the veterans’ class,” Loisel said. “The event itself is wonderful. They have activities every day for almost a full week. Very well-planned, very organized.” Mike and Maureen Hunter of Acworth are members of the Irish Setter Club of Georgia, which is hosting the national show. Mike Hunter said watching the dogs move is his favorite part of the event. “They’re so beautiful and so special,” he said. Laabs said Irish setters are an elegant, aristocratic dog, often referred to as the “gentleman’s hunting dog.” “Many artists say it’s the most beautiful dog,” she said. “(Some) people have the impression that they’re not (intelligent) because they’re goofy and wild, but if they have the adequate exercise and training, they’re fabulous.” The dogs are the best when they have the opportunity to exercise regularly, Laabs said, noting they have what’s called a “frolicky” temperament, which she said requires a bit of a sense of humor from the owner. “They’re not a dog that should live outdoors, but they require exercise off-leash on a daily basis,” Laabs said. “They are very versatile.” Higby — whose dog, Penny, won Best in Show last year — described the Irish setter as a fun-loving, amiable breed. “They’re great with kids, and they’re just a great family pet, all around,” Higby said. “And they keep you on your toes.” Laabs said most of the dogs at the show are not spayed or neutered because of show standards, with about 175 to 200 males and about 150 or so females. The Hunters were at the event with a 4-month-old puppy they call Grace, although the dog’s full name is Vermilion’s All the Way to Kildownet, which comes from the breeder’s litter. Maureen Hunter said females typically grow to about 60 pounds and the males can get as big as 80 pounds. All the dogs at the show are purebred Irish setters, according to Jan Ziech, the first vice president and rescue coordinator of the Irish Setters Club of America. Ziech, who is from the Chicago area, said the club typically adopts out about 50 rescue dogs a year. “Our numbers have decreased and I feel the popularity has decreased,” Ziech said. “But also, our breeders do an extremely good job of taking back any dogs that they’ve bred.” She said many of the rescue dogs the club handles are the result of backyard breeders and other profit-motivated breeding operations, “But they’re still great dogs.” She said the cost of adopting a rescue dog is about $250, but the total cost can vary significantly depending on the dog’s health at the time of adoption. “I’ve taken in dogs that have needed thousands of dollars (worth) of care,” she said, noting she once took in a dog with a broken leg whose owner couldn’t afford to care for the dog.
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