The Cobb School Board on Wednesday restored funding to the district’s successful SAT preparation program, which was in danger of drastic cutbacks.
The board voted 4-3, with members Brad Wheeler, Scott Sweeney and Tim Stultz opposing, to restore funding to Project 2400.
Last year, the board cut the program’s budget from $125,000 to $62,500 with plans to discontinue funding completely this fall due to budget shortfalls.
On Wednesday, the board reversed its decision and restored $62,500 of the program’s funding, with a request that the Cobb Schools Foundation pay the other half, an invitation the foundation agreed to do.
The funding helps pay the $350 fee for students at each of Cobb’s 16 high schools to participate in an SAT preparation class where they learn how to increase their scores on the national college entrance exam.
Northeast Cobb board member David Banks requested that the funding be restored to at least $62,500.
“It allocates the money to students to take a course in SAT and the goal is to increase our SAT scores,” Banks said. “It’s a very, very small amount … well worth the allocation of our funds.”
Board member Kathleen Angelucci, who represents north Cobb, agreed.
“(Why we can’t fund this) is absolutely beyond me,” Angelucci said, passionately. “This is about academic achievement. It’s about student achievement, and we’re fussing over $62,000. It’s absolutely mind-blowing to me.
“It’s about those students performing better on something that will be used in the superintendent’s evaluation and the area assistant superintendents’ evaluation. You would think that this would be what everybody would be interested in, so I’m having a little trouble understanding why we can’t support this.”
With additional support from board members David Morgan and Randy Scamihorn, funding was returned and will be paid for out of the district’s reserve fund, projected to be between $75 and $89 million for fiscal 2014.
The foundation has already set aside $35,000 for the program with plans to raise more.
Marietta attorney Fred Bentley, Jr. launched the SAT prep program, called Project 2400, in 2007 when he was chairman of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce.
Project 2400 is aimed at students “on the bubble,” those with aptitude and decent grades but for whom college isn’t simply a given, he said.
In other business, the board also approved:
- The appointments of two area assistant superintendents: Tracie Doe, the principal at Timber Ridge Elementary School in east Cobb; and Robin Lattizori, principal at Dodgen Middle School in east Cobb;
- A $1.4 million contract with Chapman Griffin Lanier Sussenbach Architects Inc. of Atlanta to design Walton High School’s replacement facility. It includes a new classroom building, gym and an arts and theater facility;
- An $855,277 contract with Croft and Associates Architects of Kennesaw to design a new gym and theater for Wheeler High School; and
- A $530,000 contract with Hardy Chevrolet Inc. of Dallas and Akin Ford Corp. of Winder to purchase 17 marked police cars for the school district’s 38 campus officers.