Bartow County School Board members at their Sept. 20 business session will consider approving Southern A&E of Austell for architectural services for the new Cloverleaf and Emerson elementaries, while Chapman, Griffin, Lanier and Sussenbach Architects of Atlanta could get the nod to design the new Adairsville Middle School. If approved, the firms will perform their work at a cost not to exceed 5 percent of the respective projects' total price tags; Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds will cover the expenses.
"We've worked very well with both of these firms, and we look forward for that to continue," Superintendent John Harper said during Monday's board work session. CGLS Architects worked on the district's latest school construction project, the new Cass High School, which is slated for substantial completion in late October.
Officials say the elementary schools will be similar in design to Pine Log Elementary, the most recent elementary school built in the district. Harper said the design of the new Adairsville Middle will be similar to Woodland Middle School at Euharlee, with each grade given its own wing and a central hallway connecting the wings.
Board members also will consider system officials' recommendation for NOVA Engineering to provide an environmental study and risk/hazard analysis with modeling and geotechnical evaluation for the new Cloverleaf and Emerson elementary school sites. The prices for work on the two sites would be $31,000 for Emerson and not to exceed $25,000 for Cloverleaf, with SPLOST funds covering those costs as well.
Board members in the coming days are set to submit paperwork to the Georgia School Boards Association as they seek to become a "Board of Distinction." The board has already been recognized for being in compliance with the GSBA's Standards for Local Boards of Education, but the Board of Distinction recognition is a higher honor.
According to GSBA's website, a district that is in compliance with the Standards meets guidelines in the areas of vision/philosophy/goals, systematic improvement, organizational structure, policy development, board meetings, personnel, financial management and board/staff/community relations. A Board of Distinction meets the Standards but also is required to assess itself much like board members assess their superintendent. The board also has to have a strategic plan or set of annual goals, post its monthly meeting agendas online and meet other standards.
"It fosters a stronger board-superintendent relationship," Harper said of the Board of Distinction requirements. "There's a set of standards that they say, 'This is what we're going to do as a board.' It changes the way the board evaluates the superintendent, and that's based on goals. They're highly involved with the superintendent and the goals the superintendent sets forward, and holds them accountable for those."
If GSBA officials approve Bartow's Board of Distinction paperwork, the district likely would be recognized for the honor in December.
In other action, board members will consider using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds earmarked for special education to purchase computers, printers, LCD projectors and Promethian Boards for special education classrooms across the district. They also will consider approving a contract for orientation and mobility specialists, who assist visually impaired, blind or deaf and blind students to help them travel safely and independently.
The board will meet Monday at 6 p.m. in the central office boardroom.