“What we wanted to do was put some items together that we felt would be a fair price for the school that remains. As you know it’s a very aging facility and it will provide adequate space for Emerson city to operate and as soon as we exit [the current facility] we will allow Emerson to move into that structure,” Superintendent John Harper said during the board’s regular work session, which was held immediately before the board’s regular business session.
He said the total amount of improvements to support the new EES by the city in exchange for the current school will total $368,045.
Board member John Howard said he supports the city using the facility for purposes such as housing nonprofit, community-based organizations. Emerson Mayor Al Pallone, who was in attendance for the meeting, responded to Howard’s comments by saying the city currently is looking into grants to help make good use of the facility.
In other school news, the board approved supporting the 2014 Georgia School Boards Association’s legislative positions. Both board members Fred Kittle and Matt Shultz had questions about the positions and Shultz ultimately ended up voting against the approval of the evening’s consent agenda based on the approval of the positions.
Kittle said, for example, he supports an additional avenue for an appeal process when communities support having a charter school as well as calling for the requirement of partisan school board candidates.
“I do believe you should have the right to know where somebody stands when they’re running, who’s backing them, that sort of thing,” Kittle said, in reference to the GSBA’s stance on supporting non-partisan elections.
“I agree with a lot of the issues Fred has brought up and I won’t be able to support those conditions,” Shultz said.
Following the evening’s business session, Shultz said particularly he did not support the GSBA’s position on charter schools.
Board member Anna Sullivan suggested the board write an addendum stating the board supports GSBA’s legislative positions, but individual board members do have concerns over certain positions.
“I think last year we attached an addendum that took into account the individual concerns and if we could do that again, that might resolve that issue,” Sullivan said.
All of the GSBA’s positions can be viewed on the BCBOE’s website, www.bartow.k12.ga.us, under the agenda for Monday, March 17.
Parent Jennifer Howard addressed the board in regard to its decision to extend school days beginning March 3 to make up for time missed during recent inclement weather. She presented a petition signed by students at Cass Middle School and Cass High School, where her children attend, asking for the board to reverse its decision because she said students feel the additional 27 minutes on each school day is beginning to create problems outside of the classroom.
“I must say, it has been a long two weeks. With all due respect, I feel this has been a fruitless 297 minutes,” Johnson said. “... I am curious if the board took into consideration the monkey wrench it was throwing into the machine of our lives, which I will refer to as ‘the continuing of family patterns.’”
She said, for example, the extended days are creating problems with previously planned appointments outside of school hours, as well as activities and supplemental education opportunities along with childcare resources. Johnson also said she is concerned the extended days will eventually create problems inside the classroom as students are experiencing longer days.
Harper said the board can reverse at any time its decision to extend the school days if they see fit.
For more Bartow County school news, read The Daily Tribune News.