BOE ap­proves new al­ter­na­tive pro­gram

The Covington News - - LOCAL - DUANE M. FORD dford@cov­news.com

At its March 7 meet­ing the New­ton County School Sys­tem (NCSS) Board of Ed­u­ca­tion (BOE) ap­proved the devel­op­ment of an in-house al­ter­na­tive ed­u­ca­tion and sup­port pro­gram as well as con­struc­tion of a foot­ball and soc­cer field be­hind Cle­ments Mid­dle School and new con­ces­sion and re­stroom fa­cil­i­ties for the ath­letic fields at Al­covy High School.

Al­though the BOE unan­i­mously rec­og­nized the need to re­place the cur­rent con­ces­sion and re­stroom fa­cil­ity that serves the Al­covy High ath­letic fields, there was dis­agree­ment about how best to ad­dress that need.

Sa­man­tha Fuhrey, su­per­in­ten­dent, and Tom Garrett, direc­tor of fa­cil­i­ties, rec­om­mended con­struc­tion of two 600-square-feet, pre­fab­ri­cated con­crete build­ings. Each build­ing would in­clude a con­ces­sion area and re­strooms. One would be lo­cated near the base­ball and soft­ball fields; the other would serve the foot­ball field and track. The to­tal cost for both, as bid by CXT, Inc., Spokane Val­ley, Wash­ing­ton, is $348,560 to be paid us­ing al­ready bud­geted funds.

Garrett listed the ad­van­tages of us­ing pre­fab­ri­cated con­crete con­struc­tion, say­ing “The build­ings would be highly van­dal re­sis­tant, a quick con­struc­tion re­quir­ing only a few weeks, low main­te­nance, re­sis­tant to ab­sorb­ing liq­uids and odors, a safe refuge in case of storm, and move­able should that ever be needed.”

Ed­die John­son, BOE vice-chair and district 2 mem­ber, voiced op­po­si­tion to the scope of the project.

“We are here, be­cause we failed to do it right the first time,” John­son said. “I don’t want to make the same mis­take.”

John­son sug­gested the BOE con­sider a big­ger project to in­clude seat­ing for spec­ta­tors, a larger con­ces­sion and re­stroom fa­cil­ity, and per­haps a press box.

“We need to post­pone this de­ci­sion and come up with a more ad­e­quate plan,” he said.

Trey Bai­ley, district 1, agreed with the sug­ges­tion to post­pone the vote and fur­ther re­view the project.

Shak­ila Hen­der­son-Baker, district 3, ex­pressed con­cern about build­ing some­thing big­ger that New­ton High School and East­side High School would also want. Garrett re­ported that the price tag for seat­ing, a field house, and press box would be $4 to 5 mil­lion.

The pro­posed project, to in­clude the two pre­fab­ri­cated con­crete build­ings, was ap­proved on a 3-2 vote.

The BOE unan­i­mously ap­proved con­struc­tion of the foot­ball and soc­cer field for Cle­ments Mid­dle School. The con­tract will be awarded to Pre­ci­sion Turf, LLC, from Bu­ford. Con­struc­tion of the field and in­stal­la­tion of a per­ma­nent ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem will cost $277,840 and be paid for with bud­geted cap­i­tal funds. Con­struc­tion will start this spring; the field will be ready for the fall foot­ball sea­son.

The es­tab­lish­ment of a NCSS al­ter­na­tive pro­gram to re­place the pro­gram­ming cur­rently pro­vided via con­tract with a pri­vate agency, Om­buds­man, was also ap­proved unan­i­mously. Al­ter­na­tive ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams serve stu­dents who for one rea­son or an­other have dif­fi­culty in tra­di­tional schools and class­rooms.

In Fuhrey’s memo to the BOE, she stated, “While this en­tity met the ed­u­ca­tional re­quire­ments of the stu­dents served, the rec­om­mended New­ton County Al­ter­na­tive Pro­gram model will strive to ad­dress aca­demic re­quire­ments as well as the so­cial, be­hav­ioral, and emo­tional needs of the stu­dents served.”

The an­nual cost for setup and op­er­a­tions is ex­pected not to ex­ceed $1.2 mil­lion, which is the cur­rent amount be­ing paid for the con­tracted ser­vices.

The Board also ap­proved the hir­ing of three teach­ers and seven staff mem­bers, four trans­fers, nine re­tire­ments, and 24 res­ig­na­tions.

Fuhrey and her ad­min­is­tra­tive team pre­sented six rec­om­men­da­tions that will be acted on at the BOE’s next meet­ing. These in­clude: A pro­posed in­crease in the cost of paid stu­dent lunches per Fed­eral guide­lines. If ap­proved stu­dents who are not el­i­gi­ble for free or re­duced price lunches, would see the cost of their lunch rise by 10 cents next year. Break­fast meal prices would not change. In her memo to the BOE, Fuhrey said, “NCSS stu­dent meal prices re­main be­low nearby school dis­tricts with sim­i­lar menus.” Es­tab­lish­ment of a pro­posed salary sched­ule for oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pists, phys­i­cal ther­a­pists, cer­ti­fied oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pist as­sis­tants, and phys­i­cal ther­a­pist as­sis­tants. The district cur­rently has no such salary sched­ule and these po­si­tions are filled via con­tracts with in­di­vid­ual em­ploy­ees or with a third-party agency. If ap­proved, the sched­ule would be­gin next year for “newly di­rect-con­tract” em­ploy­ees. A pro­posal to rent the cafe­te­ria at Cle­ments Mid­dle School to Im­pact Church Min­istries which would use it for wor­ship ser­vices on Sun­days start­ing April 2. A one-year con­tract is pro­posed. Con­tracts for in­ter­ac­tive pan­els and stu­dent agen­das were rec­om­mended. LeCroy Tech­nol­ogy, Toc­coa, Ge­or­gia was the low bid­der for a oneyear con­tract for ma­te­ri­als and in­stal­la­tion of the pan­els. The value of the pro­posed con­tract is es­ti­mated at $396,618. The pur­chase of stu­dent agen­das from Premier Agen­das, Inc., Belling­ham, Wash­ing­ton was pro­posed. The cost would be $1.79 per agenda for a to­tal of about $43,933.76. The dis­posal of sur­plus equip­ment was pro­posed.

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