Board of Education

Calendar restores days for teachers

by Celia Shortt

The Coweta County Board of Education restored the remaining calendar days for teachers at its meeting Tuesday, making their work calendar and pay for a full 190 days.

This restoration is possible because the tax digest is expected to exceed what the school system estimated it to be.

“We budgeted exactly what the growth was last year, which was about 1.6 percent,” said Coweta County School Superintendent Dr. Steve Barker. “With a degree of confidence, I believe we can expect higher than that growth this year. I think … in the neighborhood of 2.5 to 3 percent.”

Barker said with this increase and the increased money from the state, both he and Dr. Keith Chapman, assistant superintendent for financial services, believe they can restore a full 190-day work day calendar for next year.

“I can’t promise what the future will hold with the dollars, whether or not next year we would see the same state dollars again, but I do know that this year we can put a full work calendar in place,” he added.

Board of Education member Amy Dees thanked Barker for restoring those days for the Coweta County teachers.

Board of Education member Harry Mullins pointed out that while the tax digest numbers are improving they are still lower than they were in 2009, and they are not out of it yet.

At its April 15 meeting, the school board approved restoring one calendar day for teachers, as well as a step increase for classified employees.

The school board also approved the 2014-2017 technology plan for the Coweta County School System at Tuesday’s meeting.

This plan’s primary focus will be on wireless reliability, computer lab needs and real time efficiency of the network.

According to Barker, the state Department of Education is providing substantial grant opportunities for these upgrades, of which the Coweta system has already received some.

To upgrade the student computer labs at all the schools will cost $2.4 million, and upgrading the network infrastructure will cost $2.5 million to $4.0 million, depending on the amount of grant money received from the state.

State education officials need to see an investment at the local level in order to award the grant money, Barker said.

The state has four tiers of grants, of which three are eligible for these upgrades. The school system has already applied for and received money through the first tier, which covers upgrading firewalls and content filters. They received approximately $80,000 from the first tier. Through this technology plan and the system’s strategic plan, the Coweta school system will apply for grants in tier two and tier three, which include upgrading routers, cabling, and upgrading wireless and switches.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Dr. Julie Raschen, principal of Brooks Elementary, presented the five-year strategic plan for the school system, which the board approved. The plan is based on the school system’s mission of being committed to students’ success.

Its strategic goals include: purpose and direction, governance and leadership, teaching and assessing for learning, resources and support systems, and using the results for continuous improvement.

The strategic plan will be available online at the school system’s website.

Also Tuesday, the board of education:

• Approved a contract for slightly more than $2.1 million dollars with Meja Construction Company Inc. for lighting retrofits and ceiling renovations in the following schools and offices: Canongate Elementary, Newnan Crossing, Jefferson Parkway, Thomas Crossroads, Arnall Middle, Maggie Brown Alternative, Northgate High School, Winston Dowdell Academy, the school board office and the operations center. The contract amount includes $75,000 for additional ceiling replacements.

• Approved entering an intergovernmental agreement with Coweta County for paving parking lots at Willis Road Elementary, Lee Middle, Smokey Road Middle and Moreland Elementary. The cost for the paving is almost $1.26 million. The school system is handling the project this way in order to take advantage of economies of scale and obtain the best construction pricing. This project will be paid for from Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds.

• Approved a $478,814 contract with Torrance Construction Company for HVAC renovations to Canongate Elementary, Jefferson Parkway Elementary, Newnan Crossing Elementary and Northgate High School.

• Approved the low bid from Sharp for a five-year copier bid for the school system. The cost for the entire five year hid is $401,800.

• Approved a change order in the amount of $15,297 for East Coweta High School to furnish and install eight new shower stalls in the PE locker room.

• Approved resolutions for Title 50 waivers – alternative/non-traditional education programs (AEP) and class size. The board of education seeks these waivers every year.

• Approved an intergovernmental agreement with West Georgia Technical College and the school system to formalize student opportunities for the upcoming year.

• Approved the Coweta Samaritan Clinic Dental Agreement with WGTC and the school system to help the clinic provide dental services to its patients using volunteer local dentist and WGTC dental assisting students.

• Approved the 2014-2015 collaborative agreement between CAFI and the school system. It includes guidelines for services and facilities.

• Approved the following out-of-state/overnight trips: East Coweta Middle School technology students to attend the Technology Student Association’s national conference in Washington, DC from June 27 to July 2, 2014; Smokey Road Middle School Chorus to travel to Washington, DC April 7 to 11, 2015; East Coweta High School JROTC cadets to attend a National Cyber Academy in Fitchburg, MA, July 23 to 29, 2014; East Coweta High School chorus students to participate in the Disney Performing Arts Program in Los Angeles, CA, April 8 to 13, 2015; and East Coweta High School academic bowl team to attend the National Academic Championship in Washington, DC, May 30 to June 1, 2014.

All trips have no school days missed and are at no cost to the system, with the exception of the East Coweta High School chorus trip to Los Angeles. It is no cost to the system, but one school day will be missed.



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