Down to Business
Remember the money that GMSD received from the Shelby County Commission to replace windows at Farmington? It seems that it is the gift that keeps on giving. Farmington has its windows, and leftover dollars were re-appropriated to purchase and install new rooftop air conditioning units at Dogwood. Now it appears that the district still has about $195,000 left over and will use it to repave the driving lanes on the HHS campus.
Side note: the new roof for Dogwood is still in the works. It will be paid for out of the “Riverdale” bond issue money.
There were some awards and recognitions given at the beginning of the business meeting.
- Student, Marie Randolph, was recognized for writing a note of recommendation to HR for a new teacher applicant
- The Girls’ Basketball Team at HHS was recognized for their District championship
- Three awards were presented for district level “Teacher of the Year”: Corrie Martin (Riverdale), Victoria Jordan (HHS), and Sue Lynn (Farmington)
- The Shelby County Education Commission presented a $930 check, proceeds from the Race for Education
Citizens to be Heard
Heather Fisher, a Dogwood administrator, spoke about the desperate need for space at Dogwood. She encouraged the board to add portables to allieviate the overcrowding.
About those portables…
The proposal on the table is not a typical array of multiple portables, but a large modular building with two entrances. Each school would gain six classrooms, all under one roof, with restrooms and a hallway. This seemed to alleviate some of Natalie Williams’s concerns about safety. The buildings would be leased, and the company would be responsible for removing the buildings at the end of the lease. The district plans for these rooms to be a temporary stop-gap until the city issues bonds for a new elementary school (expected in 2018). Ken Hoover asked if a lease-purchase option had been considered. He was concerned that if the funding from the city did not materialize, we might need these classrooms longer than the anticipated 3-5 year timeframe. Hoover was also concerned that the purchase of these units would not be put out for bid. Superintendent Manuel stated that the buildings were being competitively bid through a purchasing co-op. Hoover stressed a need for transparency and said he wants to be sure that the board is spending taxpayer dollars wisely. Josh Cathey indicated that there may not be enough lead time for the district to do its own RFP.
The discussion then turned briefly to transfer students. Mark Dely asked about the current policy for allowing transfers into already overcrowded schools. Manuel insisted that there were only five transfers at Dogwood and that they were all children of employees. Dely questioned the policy of allowing students enroll if they have a sibling that is a current student and wondered if the district should eliminate that policy beginning with the next school year.
Ultimately, the board approved funding for the new modular classrooms. Dely said he voted reluctantly, because he feared they would become permanent. He conceded that the need is dire and urged parents to contact the city to ask for money to build a new elementary school. Hoover again pleaded with the administration to put together a competitive bid package.
There was no new business, so the meeting adjourned at 7:35 pm. The board convenes again on April 12th for a budget meeting, and then on April 18th for their monthly work session and business meeting.