The board voted unanimously to approve Option A of the three proposed calendars given to board members and put up for public review and comment on the system’s website.
The calendar choice has students returning to school on Thursday, Aug. 8, having Christmas holidays from Dec. 23-Jan. 6, and getting out of school on May 23, 2014.
Board members were pleased with the option, with Rob Cleveland making the motion to adopt the calendar and Bart Cater seconding his motion for Option A.
“I like that Option A starts on a Thursday,” Cleveland said. “I know for students and teachers, giving them that two-day transition period where they can get out of summer and into the school year really helps.”
Cleveland said the first option allowed an extra day after the Christmas holidays for students, faculty and staff to spend with their families. Option A has students returning on Jan. 6, 2014, with Options B and C starting on the Friday before, on Jan. 3.
The board also voted to enter a performance contract with Georgia Power, which will audit the district’s energy systems and install cost-saving measures.
Georgia Power was one of two companies still in the running for the contract, with the other being ABM Industries. Both companies gave presentations to the board at its Monday work session.
While two board members voiced their opinion that they’d like more time to consider the two options, board Chairman Dr. Jon Anderson said he did not feel any more information would come to light in another month than was already presented to the board members.
The vote for Georgia Power, also motioned by Cleveland, was 5-1, with Denise Askin Pate voting no and Cater (who is employed by Georgia Power) abstaining.
“Regardless of which company we go with, there’s going to be guaranteed savings,” Cater said, encouraging the members to vote at last night’s meeting instead of in March. “If they don’t save us money, they have to cut us a check.”
The main difference between the two was the comparison between the upfront costs and what savings may be gleaned in coming years.
ABM Industries offered the initial audit of the system’s facilities at a flat rate of $25,000. Georgia Power gave a vaguer figure — a cost “not to exceed” $50,000.
The Georgia Power proposal told board members that maintenance fees would be cheaper down the line than the proposal from ABM Industries, however, which Anderson said is “really what we’re buying.”
While some board members were uncomfortable with the uncertainty that the Georgia Power rate provided, the majority voted to give the company the contract.
“Georgia Power is familiar with us and our buildings, and we have a working relationship with them,” Cleveland said. “So I think we should go with them.”
During the public input portion of the meeting, the board heard from Jesse Strickland, a member of the local chapter of the NAACP, who encouraged the board to reconsider a resolution it struck down last month.
Strickland spoke on behalf of the voters who wished to vote for Dr. Bernice Brooks in last summer’s election of the District 1 board member, who were unable to because of a glitch in district mapping.
Board member Donald Nixon motioned for the board to draft a resolution to send to local legislative delegates to redraw the district lines to fix the error, but the board voted down Nixon’s motion, with some members saying it would be a “step backward.”
“We respectfully request that the board reconsider drafting that resolution to redraw the district line,” Strickland said. “Think if you were in the same position as Mrs. Brooks.”
Also during Thursday’s regular meeting:
• The board recognized several achievements made in the past month in the school system, including the county spelling bee winners and the employee of the month.
Libby Robinson, a student at Bowdon Middle School, won the 2013 Carroll County Schools Spelling Bee and was recognized Thursday, with runner-up Dennis Bailey, who attends Mt. Zion Middle School, also receiving a certificate.
Glen Harding, principal of Central Middle School, was given the A.P.P.L.E. Award, given to the employee in the county system who best exemplifies leadership in the given month.
The members of the Bowdon Elementary School and Bowdon High School robotics and technology teams were recognized for winning first place in several categories at the West Georgia Regional Technology Fair last month. Ronda Stapleton was recognized as the leader of the teams.
Alexis Croy, a sixth-grader at Bay Springs Middle School, received a certificate for winning the Georgia Lions Club Peace Essay Contest. Croy has won at the state level, and will now go on to compete nationally.
• The board unanimously approved the improvements that will be made to Roopville Elementary School to enhance the safety considerations of the school.
David Goldberg, assistant superintendent of Administrative and Support Services, shared with the board during Monday’s work session that he was approached by Carroll County Sheriff Terry Langley, who said his chief concern was the response time that responders could make it to a school if an incident occurred like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in December.
Goldberg said he, Langley, Major Craig Dodson and EMA Director Tim Padgett identified RES as not only being one of the smallest schools in the district, but the farthest away from the sheriff’s office.
Therefore, Goldberg said, the sheriff’s office offered to pay for some security improvements that will cost between $7,000 and $10,000.
The assistant superintendent said he was reticent to give away too much about the improvements, for “obvious reasons” — not wanting to divulge too much about the plan, for instance where students will be evacuated to, he said.
Goldberg did share with the board, however, that the improvements include a series of extra doors in the school that can be activated by a panic button that will shut and lock every door.
“The sheriff’s office is really pushing this — they’re hoping to have this in before the end of the year so they can get the teachers trained on it,” Goldbert said.