2010-01-28 / Front Page

Building Constraints Top Agenda At So. Fulton

Financial advisor to speak with board regarding financing options for possible construction
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

Southern Fulton School Board and administrators will be sitting down with their financial advisor next month to determine if the district can afford a construction project that would alleviate its worsening space constraints.

On February 16, Gordon Walker, managing director with Public Financial Manager, will appear during the board’s regularly scheduled 8 p.m. meeting to discuss financing options available to the district as well as the impact on taxpayers in the event a remodeling or construction project should occur.

According to Superintendent Ralph Scott, even though the district does currently have educational needs, if the money isn’t available and the district can’t afford projected figures, the expansion will have to be bumped back for a year. However, if the board is in favor of what it hears from Walker next month, a first round of interviews will be scheduled with eight to nine architectural firms that are interested in following through with the completion of a feasibility study.

Scott went on to say the driving force behind the lack of building space is programming. At the time he joined the district, Scott stated special education costs were around $400,000 annually and have increased to more than $1 million.

Board member Danny Crouse mentioned in comparing enrollment numbers, the district is down 44 students from the 2008-09 school year. Crouse requested a printout of student enrollment figures from the last six years, which could also include a list outlining the number of special education students enrolled at the district annually. Participation in special education is determined by falling under at least one out of 13 qualifying categories.

“It will be hard for the taxpayers to swallow making a larger building for less kids,” added Crouse. The superintendent contended numbers don’t always reflect the reality of the space crunch.

Other issues addressed by the board on Tuesday, January 19, included the acceptance of a letter of resignation for the purpose of retirement from secondgrade teacher Sandra Strait. Strait’s retirement, which was accepted by the board with regret, will begin effective the conclusion of the 2009-10 school year.

The board welcomed their newest employee, Andrew Brown, who was appointed to the position of high school technology teacher effective January 20. Brown’s salary was accordingly set at $36,219.

Jamie Shipley will be serving as a long-term substitute teacher for Valerie White beginning retroactive to December 8. Shipley’s daily rate was established at $115.

Pending the completion of paperwork, Heidi McCardell, Alfred Cross and April Leese will be added to the district’s professional substitute teacher list for the remainder of the current school year. In addition, April Hiller was approved to serve as a substitute nurse.

An unpaid leave of absence under Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 was approved for teacher’s aide Michelle Trail. Trail’s leave is tentatively slated to begin March 6 and run through the conclusion of the school year.

Board member Dwight Bard was presented a plaque from President Kenny Wuertenberg for logging 11 years in the capacity of board president. Bard’s commitment and leadership qualities were also lauded during the presentation. Bard went on to express his appreciation to teachers Kent Hendershot, Melissa Barton and Justin Sholes for their assistance in offering college courses to the student body.

The board and administration publicly thanked D&K Transportation for providing a shuttle service free to the school and general public during the elementary Christmas concerts. This was the second year in a row that the contractor provided the service.

Fulton County Area Vocational Technical School (AVTS) Executive Director Elizabeth Cheatle attended the meeting and invited all board members to attend a tour of the AVTS programs on January 29.

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