Inmate labor OK'd by schools


The Coweta County Board of Education Tuesday approved a revised inmate work agreement for the use of inmates to provide maintenance on school system property.

The Coweta County Board of Commissioners approved the new policy following complaints when an inmate exposed himself outdoors at a school and was observed by a student in a classroom. Until this time, inmates had been doing a variety of jobs at Coweta schools for decades. Under the new policy, inmates are not allowed to be in an area where students are present on campus.

“If students come into that area where inmates are present, the inmates load and leave,” said Coweta’s school superintendent, Steve Barker. 

Barker had attended the county commission meeting and stated that he and the school board “wholeheartedly” agree with the changes. The other change in the policy is that inmates will not perform any work at any school in Coweta County during the 180-day official school calendar that is posted on the Coweta County School System website.

Outside of the official school calendar, inmates are permitted to work at schools, but not in areas where students are present. 

Having the ability to have inmates work on school grounds saves the school system more than $100,000. The inmates’ ability to work also comes at a critical time when many schools are in the middle of renovations. It is very expensive to sub out their work during that time because the process is ongoing.

The board of education also adopted the official budget of $231,969,242 for the 2014 fiscal year. Keith Chapman, comptroller for Coweta County Board of Education, said that $5 million from the financial reserves is included in that amount.

“Our reserves are in good shape,” Chapman said. “We are monitoring the situation.”

In other business:

• The board approved the local board of education’s 2013 fiscal year governance training report.

• The board approved the Georgia School Board Association membership dues of $15,025 for the 2014 fiscal year and the eBoard Module Subscription and Maintenance Service fees of $3,650 and $1,500, respectively, for the 2014 fiscal year.

• Nineteen school buses, ranging in age from 19 to 24 years old, and three wrecked buses were declared surplus property.

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