Communities in Schools advocates look to reinstitute Coweta programBy REBECCA LEFTWICH
After the 2010 death of executive director Bonnie Garrison, Coweta County’s Communities In Schools program went dormant, but a group of local volunteers is working to re-implement services for county students.
“We deserve to have this back in the community,” said Kristy Lilly, who along with Lisa Smith and Nancy Stone updated the Coweta County Board of Education during its Tuesday meeting.
CIS helps counter challenges and risk factors which can be barriers to student success, Stone said.
“A lot of kids walk into a school building with issues that have nothing to do with education,” she said. “We are able to wrap all partners and community resources around and support that child.”
Dropout rates and behavioral referrals decrease while attendance and academics improve for students whose risk factors are identified and addressed through CIS, according to Stone, who emphasized the importance of appointing a strong board with resource development as its main directive.
Coweta Schools Superintendent Steve Barker said he is working to identify an appropriate school setting for the Communities in Schools site coordinator.
“We have a lot of interested principals,” he said. “This is a great resource and a very committed group, and we’re looking forward to this partnership.”
“Thank you very much for what you’re doing to help our students and this community as a whole,” school board member Harry Mullins added.
In other business, the school board:
• Elected Amy Dees as Coweta’s delegate to the Georgia School Boards Association convention and Frank Farmer alternate.
• Renewed its annual contract with West Georgia Regional Educational Service Agency at a cost of $78,960.
“RESA provides an important service for us,” Barker said. “It enables teachers and professional staff to receive the training they need.”
• Agreed to continue collaboration with West Georgia Technical College to provide adult education classes on the Central Educational Center campus.
The collaboration “serves a great need in our community,” Barker said.
• Declared surplus kitchen equipment from Elm Street and Atkinson elementary schools and CEC, which will be put out for bid as one lot.
• Voted to grant the City of Newnan access to its vacant lot behind Maggie Brown School through the school’s parking lot.
• Added Web-based free and reduced meal applications to the school system’s printed application process.
• Accepted Meja Construction Company’s low bid of $1,032,450 for additions, renovations and modifications to East Coweta High School.
“We met with representatives from the company after we went through the bid process to speak with them about their workload, their process for managing the project and their commitment level,” said Barker, who has said the project is expected to take about three years. “We had a good conversation with them... this is a project that we will hit the ground running with as soon as possible.”
• Agreed to hire Estes Landscape Design, Inc., to maintain grounds at Coweta middle and high schools, accepting the company’s low bid of $33,259.
“This is the first time we’ve outsourced that,” Barker said. “Our plan will be to, at the end of three months, take a look at performance and satisfaction and then possibly go out for a bid for a longer period of time.”