Board member Wanda Cagle Grey nominated Cornett for chairman and member John Howard for vice chairman during the called meeting, but a majority vote from Howard, Cornett and Nelson upheld the nominations for Cornett and Nelson, who nominated each other.
Superintendent John Harper announced during the board's work session he has sent a letter to Gov. Nathan Deal regarding the Georgia Department of Community Health's price increase to school employee health insurance.
He said the school system simply cannot afford the increase.
"Essentially what I said to the governor is that currently we have in Bartow County 162 non-certified employees in our school system where this new regulation that has been passed by the [Georgia Department of Community Health] to increase our insurance coverage and this is how it will impact us," Harper said.
After the board passed their budget this summer, the department of community health announced to local school boards the increase, which is currently costing Bartow County about $50 more each month per non-certified employee for health insurance.
"... In July of 2012, that cost will go up to $446 per-month per non-certified employee ... and in July 2013 that cost jumps to $596 ... and then July of 2014, it jumps to $746 per month which often times is more than that classified employee makes per month, and that [total annual cost] then is $4,135,824 to the school system," Harper said.
Harper said the impact for the 107 non-certified school nutrition employees over the three-year period from 2011 to 2014 is $577,800 and the total cost to Bartow Schools for all non-certified employee insurance over the next three years will be about $3.2 million. He said if the price increase were to be passed on to taxpayers, it would call for a millage rate increase of about 1.2 mills, which Harper said he wants to avoid.
"As [Chief Financial Advisor Todd Hooper] and I have been working together over the past few weeks regarding the budget, we know there are some unavoidable costs the school system is going to have, I.E. fuel and things like that, but for the [Georgia Department of Community Health] to say they're going to yank up that amount of money for each classified employee over the next three years is just unconscionable in my mind and I don't know how school systems are going to afford that, and that's why I wanted to share this information with the governor," Harper said.
In other school news, Harper presented a proposed approval of revisions to Policy IHA-R Grading Systems, which essentially allows the administration of retests for end of course tests.
He also presented a proposed approval to amend the FY 2012 budget to reflect $1.3 million in changes to employee health insurance, energy and personnel costs.
"As we processed the beginning of the school year, we recognized there were some things we needed to head back, specifically, our students don't come in nice little lots of 15 or 20 or 30 and so we've had to add some additional teachers this year which we had originally taken out of the budget this year ... and so the best laid plans ended up having to be changed to meet the needs of our students, and you'll see that as an increase to our budget this year," Harper said.
The board will vote on all agenda items Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 6 p.m., during their regular business session in the central office boardroom.