CCSB to study plan for SPLOST projects
by Lindsay Field
lfield@mdjonline.com
July 18, 2012 01:47 AM | 1689 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — The Cobb school board will consider approving a $775,000 fund to help keep SPLOST projects on track over the summer at tonight’s meeting.

The board will also consider revisions to the Strategic Plan; an agreement to implement the stop arm law in Cobb; setting the district’s property tax rate; a $1,600 monthly lease for the Cobb/Paulding Education Center, using retired administrators for the teacher tribunals; and the superintendent’s evaluation.

Cobb Deputy Superintendent Chris Ragsdale calls the $775,00 a safeguard against delays. He is asking for $425,000 for construction and electrical expenses and $350,000 for moving technology services equipment.

The funds could be used to move and store computers so they are not damaged during construction or building a wall to divide two classrooms.

The money would not be tied to specific projects but rather would be available if a project runs into budget overruns that would otherwise require approval to stay on track.

Ragsdale said the funds would help keep SPLOST III additions and modifications on schedule through the summer.

The board will also consider awarding a $386,600 contract to Beatty Construction Inc. of Austell to convert the new band instrument storage room at Lost Mountain Middle School into a networked lab and move the instrument storage cabinets into a band room and to add handicapped restrooms and modify the classroom for moderately intellectual disabled students.

The project is $148,437, or 29 percent, under budget and is expected to be completed by Oct. 19, if approved by the board.

Ragsdale said the project is under budget because the district received 12 bids. Construction Works of Lithonia submitted the second lowest bid for $369,800, followed by Atlantic South Construction of Atlanta with a $392,000 bid.

The board will also consider approving a portion of the Strategic Plan, which they have been revising for about three months.

Jones has asked the board to approve the five core values, five beliefs of the district, the vision and mission statements, and the four goals it has outlined.

One of the goals, “Differentiate resources for areas/schools based on needs,” has raised eyebrows, but Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa said it just means that the district will use resources that will help in certain parts of the community, such as mentoring.

“We’re not going to involuntarily reassign teachers,” he said. “That’s not real smart. I don’t want to move teachers to an area where they won’t want to work because they’d quit.”

This revised plan is expected to be completed after next month’s board meeting. Hinojosa said the board would next need to approve ways to measure student achievement.

The board will also consider an agreement with American Traffic Solutions of Scottsdale, Ariz., to begin writing violations for anyone caught passing a school bus illegally on a stop-arm camera.

The board is expected to approve the agreement tomorrow night, and county commissioners will consider it during its July 24 meeting.

“Once they approve it … then that will form the contract between the three parties,” Ragsdale said. “Basically, the county and ATS will take the video from the system and determine whether or not it’s a violation and issue those violations.”

Ragsdale said there are no costs associated with the agreement and was unable to say how much revenue could be brought in from the citations, but he said any funds collection would be used to maintain the stop-arm camera use.

“We aren’t focused on the revenue. We are focused on the safety of the students,” he said. “Hopefully, the revenue portion will diminish down to zero, which means there are no violations.”

The board will also consider leasing space on the third floor of the old Paulding County Courthouse for the Cobb/Paulding Adult Education Center for $1,600 per month.

Jones said the location would “better meet the basic educational needs of its adult citizens and also allows the Adult Education Center located in (Cobb) to fulfill grant requirements.”

The rent would be paid for by a Technical College System of Georgia grant. The center provides educational opportunities to students 16 or older in Cobb and Paulding counties.

In other business, the board will consider setting the district’s property tax rate at 18.9 mills.

The Fiscal Year 2013 budget, which was approved by the board on May 21, was created with a tax rate of 19.9 mills in mind. If approved, the board would use $20.3 million in excess SPLOST II funds to buy the tax rate down.

A mill is $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value.

The board will also consider using retired administrators for teacher tribunals at the request of Lynnda Eagle, who represents northwest Cobb.

“It’s very difficult for board members to come and do the tribunals,” said Eagle, who has been asked to serve on a tribunal at the end of August. “Several of our board members work full-time … Other districts exclusively use outsiders.”

Eagle said the district use retired administrators to participate in tribunals in Spring 2010, when the district laid off nearly 700 teachers.

“We were actually forced to do this, and there is a list of people who had background checks,” she said. “The HR department handled it, so there would be a group that would be created and you would contact them.”

According to district spokesman Doug Goodwin, the district had 13 teacher tribunals, including two currently scheduled, over the last 12 months. He said the district hasn’t determined how much, if at all, they would pay the retired administrators.

As for Hinojosa’s evaluation, Vice Chair David Morgan has asked that the board discuss revising the criteria used.

Morgan said the rewrite of the evaluation has nothing to do with how he feels about Hinojosa.

“I’m quite pleased with our superintendent,” he said. “I just think that we can all work together to create an instrument that gives us more.”

The new evaluation, if approved by the board, should be in place sometime around September, Morgan said.

Hinojosa said he is comfortable with the evaluation.

“I don’t mind being held accountable for student performance,” he said.

In other business, the board will also consider approving the following agenda items:

n Collecting $110,871 in Capital Outlay Project Closeout reimbursements from the Georgia Department of Education for construction projects at Davis, Addison, Belmont Hills and Sedalia Park elementary schools.

n Approving a $540,000 contract extension with Telematics Solution to Sprint/Actsoft for the Telematic Information Management System for the Cobb Schools transportation and maintenance departments.

The contract would run from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31. A second extension of the contract will come in January and should run through Aug. 31, 2013.

The Thursday night meeting will begin at 7 p.m. and will be held in the Cobb School boardroom, 514 Glover St. in Marietta.
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