School systems struggles to set FY ’21 budget amid economic uncertainty

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt the American economy a devastating blow. The International Monetary Fund says this is the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. More than 22 million Americans have lost their jobs.

As city/county governments and school districts begin to prepare their FY ’21 budgets, there is widespread uncertainty. A spokesman for the Learning Policy Institute said the only sure thing is that public education will suffer.

Fetch Your News wanted to know what local educators were thinking so we spoke to Dawson County School Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs who, although extremely busy, took the time to talk to us.

Gibbs stated, “We base our budget revenue on two main sources. The first is our state revenue generated by the QBE funding formula. The second is our local revenue generated by local property taxes. The state revenue is generally available at this time. Due to the legislative session being delayed, a state budget has not been completed. Based on the lack of revenue information, we do not have sufficient data to complete a final budget at this time.”

One unfortunate starting point for budget planning is the announcement last week that state lawmakers plan a 14 percent reduction in state funding. “That could reduce our state allotment by $3.6 million,” Gibbs said.

Approximately 46 percent of the Dawson County Schools general fund comes from state revenues, 54 percent is funded locally.

About 87 percent of all expenditures is allocated to salaries and benefits. That is a frightening statistics for teachers and other school system employees.

Michael Griffith, a senior analyst with Learning Policy Institute, said, “The current economic downturn will put a large number of teaching positions at risk.” That is exactly what happened during the recession of 2008-2012.

Asked if teaching positions would have to be eliminated, Gibbs said, “It is too early to say, but we are evaluating all options at this point. Unfortunately, current law prohibits school districts from using ESPLOST funds to cover the cost of salaries and benefits.”

The school system has two ESPLOSTS. “We are nearing the end of our current ESPLOST and the voters of Dawson County approved a new ESPLOST that will immediately follow,” he said.  “The November vote also approved the sale of $10 million in bonds, which have been sold. Those funds must be spent within 36 months.”

The new ESPLOST will help fund future capital expenditures. “The new Technology Center has been designed and, at this point, will proceed as planned,” Gibbs said. “We have suspended $2 million in summer projects this year. The Black’s Mill Roof/HVAC replacement will be completed as planned. Technology devices for students and staff, new buses for our fleet, and resurfacing the DCHS track will be completed. Any expenditures will be completed with funds previously collected.” Unfortunately because of the current economic recession, the new ESPLOST is unlikely to reach the estimated goal which will impact future construction.

“We anticipate the economic slowdown to delay the collection of approximately $2 million this year,” he said.

State law requires local governments to have an approved budget by June 30. But because the General Assembly is still in recess due to the COVID-19 shutdown and not expected to return until at least June 11, the School Board will likely be asked to approve a spending resolution. A spending resolution would allow the school system to spend an amount equivalent to one month of revenue from the previous year’s budget in July.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Board of Education recognizes outstanding students

News

DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. — Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting which was primarily a night of recognition and the presentation of awards for outstanding achievements by students and school system employees attracted a standing-room-only audience.

Leading off the night, outstanding Dawson County High School sophomores Alex Hughes and Kena LeBaron received the Hugh O’Brien Award, selected by the Dawson County Women’s Club.

Hughes is a member of the Georgia Junior Golfers’ Association, an award-winning classical pianist and a member of the Future Business Leaders of America. He has earned a 4.1 overall grade point average (GPA). LeBaron is a member of the school’s varsity soccer team, an honor roll student and the National Honor Society and a member of the Future Career and Community Leaders of America. She is involved in theater and does volunteer work with special needs children.

Awards were also presented to winners of the spelling bee contests: Henry Beasley (BMES), William Holloway (RES), Benjamin Hunter James (RvES), Karen Miranda-Cruz (KES), Megan Bearden (DCMS) and Isaac Adams (DCJHS). The system winner was William Holloway (RES)
Isaac Adams (DCJHS) was the system runner-up.

Ian Norris won an award for his artwork.

The 8th grade Dawson County girls’ basketball team was honored for another outstanding performance that included winning the Mountain League Champions. Members of the team included Anna Ayers, Layne Bailey, Ellie Bishop, Heather Burt, Morgan Chester, Kindra Coker, Grace Nissen, Abby Samples, Jaci Wilson, Hayden Hand, Emily Gonzalez, Brianna Escoto. The coaches are: Natosha Beary, Ashley Tobias, Maddie Slaton, and Olivia Lane.

On Constitution Day, State Board of Education Superintendent Richard Wood sponsored an art contest inviting students to submit artwork that celebrated the Constitution, the United States of America, or the State of Georgia.  Dawson County Junior High School student Ian Norris submitted the winning artwork that was placed on display at the State Department of Education. He and his teacher Samantha Hewlett were recognized at Tuesday’s meeting.

Before going into executive session, the Board approved the Consent Agenda that included:

A resolution of approval of the bond parameters resolution, as presented, authorizing the issuance of up to $10,000,000 in bonds to be repaid by the ESPLOST 2020 and beginning the validation process;

School system guidelines for non-resident students and revised transfer student of $1,200 annually;

A resolution to allow the Superintendent to sign a new five-year lease agreement with the Dawson County Arts Council to allow them use of the Rock Building for $5,000 a year;

Overnight travel for participants in the state swim meet, state girls’ basketball tournament and the Health Occupation Students of America.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

Ribbon cutting for College and Career Academy Tuesday

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Education will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new crown jewel – the 35,000-square foot Dawson County College and Career Academy Tuesday (Sept. 10) at 5 p.m.

The new two-story facility located at the corner of Hwy. 53 and Perimeter Road hosts programs for the high school’s Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) students and some of the classrooms are set aside for dual enrollment opportunities.

The building will also accommodate a full size industrial kitchen, multipurpose meeting room, a health sciences lab with a built-in patient room and hospital beds, and a video broadcasting studio.

There will also be labs for construction and engineering programs, early childhood education, business and marketing as well as outdoor work areas.

The 5 p.m, ribbon cutting will precede the regular 6 p.m. Board of Education meeting.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

School Board set to approve millage rate at Tuesday meeting

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Education will hold a third and final public hearing on the FY 2020 millage rate when it meets in the Board of Education Office, at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Two previous public hearings were held on Aug. 6.

Chief Financial Officer Jamie Ulrich and staff have recommend setting the millage rate at 15.778, the same as it has been since 2016. Keeping the millage rate at the same level will result in a tax increase of .64 percent, resulting in an increase of about $12 on a home with a fair market value of $300,000 and approximately $9 on a home with a fair market value of $225,000.

The public is invited to attend Tuesday’s meeting and speak in favor of or in opposition to the proposed millage rate. The Board approved a fiscal year 2020 total budget of $49,307,237 in June which represents an increase of about $1.5 million over last year with a fund balance of $3.5 million.

Ulrich also will update the Board on school activity funds for 2020 and provide a report for the general fund and eSPLOST.

Tiffany Davis, Executive Assistant to the superintendent, will request Board approval to submit the 2019 GSBA Governance Team of the Year Application.

Superintendent Damon Gibbs will ask Board approval to purchase through Buy Board, a national purchasing cooperative. Buy Board contracts have already been through a competitive procurement process, saving members the time and cost of preparing RFPs and bids.  This provides members compliance with local and state procurement requirements and a documented audit trail.

Nicole LeCave, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning will ask Board to approv nine overnight field trips for several school organizations.

The Board will also adopt a resolution in recognition of the Instructional Technology Support Staff for its implementation of new and updated technology to increase efficiency and improve student engagement.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

Board of Education will ask voters to approve 2020 ESPLOST in Nov.

News

Dr. Damon Gibbs

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to place a $48 million ESPLOST referendum before the voters in November.

The current ESPLOST, which was approved in 2015, can extend through 2021 or until the Board collects $36.5 million, whichever comes first. Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs said he expects to reach the $36.5 million limit in late spring or early summer this year.

“The 2020 ESPLOST would be a continuation of the current one,” Gibbs said. “We have to submit the ballot question to the ballot builders by Aug. 5, then we have to publish several notifications in the newspaper and the referendum would be held on Nov. 5.”

If voters approve the one-cent tax, the maximum collectible amount would be set at $48 million and the maximum bonded indebtedness would be $10 million.

Chief Financial Officer Jamie Ulrich presented the financial report for the month of June and the current ESPLOST update.

“Everything on the financial statement is very good,” she said. “We still have about $290,000 in purchase orders open. We still have to get those closed before we are anywhere close to closing out FY 2019.” Currently the report shows $41,672,087 in expenditures and $41,181,337 in revenue.

The SPLOST report for the month of June shows revenue totaled $779,764, which is $143,070 ahead of projections and approximately $57,000 more than the same month last year. Year to date, collections are $27,073,143, about $3 million more than last year.

Renee Rogers gave the Board a review of Camp Invention which was held in June. Camp Invention is a STEM summer program that turns curious students into innovative thinkers. It is a nationally acclaimed program where STEM concepts come to life.

The theme of the 2019 program was Supercharged. Students took on four challenges – Innovative Force, Deep Sea Mystery, Farm Tech and DIY Orbot.

“It was an awesome experience,” Rogers said. “We had eight teachers, two parent volunteers, 25 high school students, five middle school students that worked together.”

Funding for the event was provided by Dawson County Charter Fund, McKinney Vento Scholarship and Nordsen Corp.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

Board of Education to review 2020 tentative budget Tuesday

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County Board of Education members are expected to review and approve a   tentative FY 2020 budget when they meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Board of Education Building at 28 Main Street.

The tentative budget is $50,696,932, an increase of about 3.54 percent from the 2019 approved budget. The school system anticipates revenue and expenditure of $44,659,969 with a fund balance of $6,036,963 to start the year. Approximately $23,465,378 will come from ad valorem taxes.

The largest expenditure anticipated in the FY20 budget is $27,353,151 for instruction, followed by $4,442,191 for maintenance and operation and $3,060,738 for instructional support.

Under Action Items, the Board is expected to approve:

Updates to the Student Handbook;

Per Diem for board members Karen Armstrong, Doris Cook, and Elaine Wilson;

Updates to sick leave payout for retiring or resigning employees.

The Board will also recognize important achievements for educators and students, including:

  • Star Student Will Mulberry;
  • Star Teacher Laura Hendrix;
  • National Distinguished Principal Connie Stovall;
  • District 2019 Young Author Winners;
  • Kilough Elementary School Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl Team;
  • DCHS state literary meet competitors;
  • DCHS golf teams;
  • DCHS tennis teams;
  • DCHS soccer teams;
  • DCHS track team

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

Dawson Board of Education meeting Tuesday

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County School Board members are expected to vote on several key action items during their March meeting Tuesday, including legislative positions that must be adopted prior to the Georgia School Boards Association meeting in April. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Board of Education Building, 28 Main Street.

Legislative proposals the Board will consider include:

  • An examination of the impact of the five-mil share on local school system funding;
  • Support for a Constitutional amendment to allow local legislation to include maintenance and operations as an allowable use of the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax;
  • Consideration to offer three high school diploma options: college prep, CTAE and special education;
  • Urging the state to review of the number of assessments required and to limit the number of assessments essential to monitor student learning and inform instruction.

Legislative proposals must be adopted by the Board at an official meeting before the Georgia School Boards Association meeting in April.

District internet use has increased significantly with the 1:1 rollout. The Board will consider two requests for proposals (RFP) that met the criteria for increased availability. Board members will vote on an evaluation team recommendation to approve Georgia Communications Cooperative (NGN) at a cost of $4,100.

A number of teams and organizations will receive special recognition for achievements, including:

  • Students selected for the All-State Chorus;
  • RES Perennial Math;
  • DCMS Robotics Team Recognition;
  • DCHS Boys Basketball Recognition;
  • DCHS Girls Basketball Recognition;
  • DCHS Wrestling Recognition;
  • Positive Behavior Intervention and Support School Awards for FY18;
  •  Maintenance and Custodial RecognitionSupporting Docs/Links attaced to this item;
  • School Board Appreciation

Dawson County High School Art Teacher Jennifer Gray will share how she is using iPads to create innovative, dynamic and engaging art lessons for students.

Dawson County School Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs will then present his report before the Board adjourns to go into executive session.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

Board of Education to recognize student achievement during the 2018 State Literary Meet

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The Dawson County Board of Education will recognize outstanding accomplishments by four Dawson County High School students who competed in the 2018 Georgia High School Association State Literary Meet when it meets Wednesday, April 16, at 6 p.m.

Brady Holcomb was crowned state champion in Extemporaneous Speaking, and Kaylie Beacham, Maggie Wright and Piper Wright placed fourth in the trio competition in the event that was held last month at Buford High School. Those students will receive certificates of recognition for their accomplishments.

Board members will discuss Georgia Power’s Learning Power Program. The school system has partnered with Georgia Power this year to bring the statewide education initiative that focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects. The program is designed to bring energy education to classrooms at no cost to schools.

The goals are to contribute to students’ academic achievement, bring energy efficient concepts to students and teachers and build awareness of careers in the electric energy industry.

Education Coordinator Jennifer Chapman, who has visited classrooms in the district to present special hands-on STEM-related lessons throughout the year, will present an overview of the program and share highlights from her experiences working with the students of Dawson County this year.

The board also is expected to approve one field trip for 20 students and three chaperones to attend the Summer Future Farmers of America (FFA) Leadership Camp in Covington June 18 through 22 and another for FFA state officer candidates April 20 and 21 in Fort Valley, Georgia.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

Wade seeks flexibility in education tax spending

News

William Wade

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Board member William Wade made a plea during Monday’s Dawson County Board of Education meeting for citizen support of HB 781, that would give Georgia school systems more flexibility in spending education sales tax revenue.

The bill, which is sponsored by state Rep. Kevin Tanner, would allow Georgia school systems to amend the existing sales tax to include maintenance and education programs in the authorized purposes for expenditures. If approved in the General Assembly, the bill would have to be approved in a referendum by Dawson County voters to be enacted.

The bill received a favorable report in a House committee on Feb. 8.

From left, the spelling bee champions, Clara Baldwin, Briana Escoto, Eva Fulmer and Brandon Cramer.

Wade told those in attendance, “It wouldn’t hurt to call the Speaker (David Ralston) and let him know you are in support of that legislation. If you’re not supportive, it won’t hurt my feelings if you didn’t call.”

Aside from Wade’s comment, most of the meeting was devoted to recognizing outstanding achievements by students and staff.

The Dawson County seventh grade girls’ basketball team received special recognition for posting an 11-1 record and winning the Mountain League Championship.

Dawson County High School students Amber Autry and Rob Cox were honored for their outstanding performances at the Future Farmers of America (FFA) state competition. Autry finished second in Area 1 and third in state in Floral Design. She also had the highest score on the written exam.

Priscilla Taylor, middle, awards HOBY plaques to outstanding students Taylor Daniel, left, and Braxton Zeidler.

Cox was second in Area 1 in Electrical Wiring Problem Solving. He also finished second in Area 1 and fourth in state in Lawn Mower Safety and Operations and had the highest individual score in Dairy Evaluation.

Riverview Elementary School was recognized for receiving the Georgia Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) Platinum Greatest Gains Award.

School and system spelling bee winners recognized included Briana Escoto (Robinson Elementary), Clara Baldwin (Kilough Elementary), Bella Boyd (Blacks Mill Elementary), Eva Fulmer (Riverview Elementary), Noah Smith (Dawson County Middle) and Brandon Cramer (Dawson County Junior High). Baldwin was the system winner and Cramer was named alternate.

The board also honored its school counselors: Sabrina Graves  (School Social Worker), Beverly Maloney (Homeless Liaison), Jordan Lefevre (Black’s Mill Elementary), Nicole Purdy  (Kilough Elementary), Jeremy Lavender (Riverview Elementary), Lance Stiffler (Robinson Elementary), Pat Finn (Hightower Academy/Dawson County Junior High), Brian Flath (Dawson Middle School), Becca Wilson (Dawson County Junior High), Cherie Ferguson  (Dawson County High) and Kate Jarrard (Dawson County High).

Priscilla Taylor, of the Dawson County Womens’ Club, presented the club’s Hugh O’Brien award (HOBY) to Taylor Daniel and Braxton Zeidler.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

Dawson Board of Education Selects Officers for 2017

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The Dawson County Board of Education met Tuesday and elected Doris Cook as Chairperson for 2017 and Karen Armstrong Vice Chairperson.

The Georgia Association of Elementary School Principals (GAESP) Educational Patron Award went to Paige Danuser, a retired educator who works as a volunteer at Black’s Mill Elementary School and the GAESP School Bell Award went to the Student Council members at Black’s Mill Elementary.

Under the consent agenda the Board approved:

Field trips to the Dawson County High School Technical School Association to the State Leadership Conference in Athens, the DCHS Chamber Singers for a performance at Dollywood and the DCHS Thespians to the Thespian Theatre Conference in Columbus;

A CCRPI report prepared by Director of Teaching and Learning Nicole LeCave that showed all elementary schools scored above the state average, Riverview Elementary School scored 91.7, a 22 point improvement since 2013, both middle schools and the high school ranked in the Top 5 in the RESA District;

The Financial Report for the period ending Dec. 2016 that showed a general fund balance of $44,199 543 less expenditures of $38,270,758 for a balance of $5,928,785.

The December eSPLOST report that showed collections well ahead of projections. Projected collections were $4,400,000 while actual collections are $4,768,886.

Per Diem for Board members;

2017 meeting schedule;

Position Guide for Chief Operations Officer;

Position Guide for Warehouse Courier;

Hall County YMCA to Provide After School Care

News

Supt. Dr. Damon Gibbs

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – In an early-morning meeting today, the Dawson County Board of Education voted unanimously to allow Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs to sign an agreement with the Hall County YMCA to provide after school care for Dawson County students for the 2017-18 school year.

Commissioners approved per diem for school board members Doris Cook, Karen Armstrong, Elaine Wilson, Roger Slaton and William Wade who attended various events and provided services on behalf of Dawson County Schools.

They also approved an overnight trip for Dawson County High School basketball and football cheerleaders to the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Ga. where they will stay in a UWG dormitory. The cost per student is $300.

School Board Hires Florida Communications Firm

News

DAMON GIBBSDAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Dawson County Board of Education approved spending $27,000 with a Florida-based communications firm during Monday’s meeting in an effort to improve its communications and business partnerships and increase stakeholder involvement.

The company, Voss & Associates, provides services and products exclusively for education and has formed a partnership with the Georgia School Boards Association and Georgia School Superintendents Association to provide economical solutions for school districts.

The agreement was one of seven items to be approved under the Consent Agenda which can be approved by a single vote without further discussion.
Under Action Items, the Board approved a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) of $1.75 million to construct the new JROTC facility and parking lot. The contractor is Carroll Daniel Construction. Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs said the parking lot should be completed this school year and the facility by October.

The Board also approved an amendment to the Apple Lease Agreement that will allow the school system to utilize approved ESPLOST funding to lease Ipads for Phase II rollout, which includes grades K-5.

Monday was also a night to recognize achievement within the school system.
Dawson County High School’s girls’ basketball team finished as the region runner-up and earned a fifth trip to the state playoffs where they reached the Elite 8 in the state tournament.

The Tigers’ wrestling team enjoyed an outstanding seaon, posting a 25-8 record, including a win over the North Carolina state champions and had five wrestlers to qualify for the state meet.

The Tigers boys’ basketball team posted a 14-14 record and finished fourth in the district tournament to earn a trip to the state tournament.

The Dawson County High Chorus had five members qualify for the state chorus.
Riverview Elementary School received the Georgia Office of Student

Achievement (GOSA) Greatest Gains Gold Award. Riverside had a three-year average CCRPI progress score in the 97th percentile.

The Dawson County High Chorus had five state qualifiers.

Board of Education to Vote on Hiring a Florida-based Communications Co.

News

DAMON GIBBSDAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The Dawson County Board of Education is expected to vote on spending $4,500 a month to contract with a Florida-based communications company at Monday’s Board meeting. The meeting will be held in the Board of Education Building, 28 Main Street starting at 6 p.m.

If approved, the Board will enter into a six-month agreement with Voss & Associates at a total cost of $27,000 in an effort to improve communications and business partnerships and increase stakeholder engagement.

According to the county website website, Voss & Associates provides services and products exclusively for education and has formed a partnership with the Georgia School Boards Association and Georgia School Superintendents Association to provide economical solutions for districts.

The Board will also vote on the appointment of Roger Slaton as delegate and Karen Armstrong as alternate to represent Dawson County Board of Education at the Delegate Assembly in Savannah on June 9, 2017.

Also on the agenda is a request to approve a milling machine that is no longer being used to be declared surplus and transferred to another Georgia school district. Muscogee County has expressed interest in the machine and the state has approved the transfer

School Board Reviews CCRPI Performance at First 2017 Meeting

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Dawson County Director of Teaching and Learning Nicole LeCave shared FY16 College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) results when the Board of Education met in a work session Tuesday.

In discussing the county’s elementary schools, LeCave said, all elementary schools scored above the state score. Riverview Elementary increased its score from 69.1 in 2013 to 91.7 in 2016 and earned all 40 progress points for the second year in a row. “That is phenomenal,” she said. Blacks Mill increased its score by 6.2 points from last year.

At the middle school level, LeCave pointed out that both middle schools scored above the state score and that the district middle school score is well above state average. She also said that both middle schools earned more achievement points in FY16 than in FY15 and ranked in the Top 5 in RESA district for achievement points.

Dawson County High School scored above state score, earned more achievement points in FY16 than in FY15 and ranked in the Top 5 in RESA district for achievement points.

She also pointed out that the Progress and Achievement Gap is a concern at all levels.

Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs was pleased with the results, but expressed frustration in the timing of the release of the information from the state.

“This really speaks about why districts beg the state to give us this data in a more timely manner. We need to be doing this in August and September instead of the middle of a school year. We need to be looking more at trends than a snapshot.”

Jamie Ulrich, Executive Director of Financial Services presented the financial report and eSPLOST report for the month of December.

The Board also discussed approval of a position guide for Chief Operations Officer, Warehouse Courier and Routing Assistant before going into executive session to discuss personnel matters.

Dawson County Fights State Takeover of Schools

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County Board of Education has joined a growing number of counties across Georgia determined to oppose a ballot referendum in November that allows state government to seize control of chronically failing schools from local school systems.

State legislators approved the ballot question last year. Now it will be in the hands of the voters.

If passed, the amendment would create an Opportunity School District (OSD) that could seize control of chronically failing schools that do not achieve a 60 on the Career and College Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI) for three consecutive years. The OSD would be operated by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) and supervised by a superintendent appointed by the governor.

Last week, Dawson County’s Board unanimously approved a resolution opposing OSDs although none of the county’s schools could be considered chronically failing.

Fetch Your News interviewed School Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs Tuesday to explain Dawson County’s opposition

“It’s not that we’re opposed to seeing the state helping chronically failing schools but there are other avenues the state can use,” he said. “We’re opposed to a Constitutional Amendment that takes authority away from local school boards elected by the citizens they serve to create a board that answers to nobody but the governor.”

Gibbs also questioned where the funding would come from. “Right now, the state only provides about 45 percent of the money needed to fund schools. That won’t be enough to fund an OSD.”

The amendment would set the bar at 60 or below on the CCRPI and establish a maximum of 10 years that the state can control a failing school.

But Gibbs said, “The scary part is who is to say the state can’t set the bar at 70 on the CCRPI or extend the maximum number of years. We’ve been working under the CCRPI for three years now and the way it is calculated has changed each year.”

In a recent speech, Deal lashed out against critics of his proposed constitutional amendment. “The General Assembly and I have lost our patience in trusting superintendents and local boards of education,” he said.

Asked about the governor’s comment, Gibbs said, “Our school board cares more about our kids than any Board I’ve been involved with. If I take the governor at face value, it’s a little like a slap in the face but there are some school districts that may need a slap in the face to do what’s right for their kids. I didn’t take it personally.”

Dawson School Board Approves FY ’17 Budget

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The Dawson County Board of Education approved the FY 2016-’17 budget of $44,199,544 Monday.The millage rate is expected to be set at a rollback rate of 15.776 mils at the July meeting. It was set at 16.496 a year ago.

Executive Director of Financial Services Jamie Ulrich presented the new budget to the Board. The budget is balanced with projected revenue of $35,107,938 plus a fund balance carryover of $9 ,091,606 for a total of $44,199,544.

Local source revenue, primarily from the ad valorem tax, is expected to be $19,324,879. State source revenue, primarily from QBE state earnings, is projected at $21,778,207

The largest expenditure in the new budget is $23,087,670 for instruction, up about 2.5 percent from last year. Maintenance and operation costs went up about 6.5 percent from $3,368,206 to $3,586.320.

In addition to adopting of a new spending plan, the Board recognized Riverview Middle School for receiving the Governors Office of Student Achievement’s 2015 Bronze Greatest Gains Award, given to schools that exhibit growth in student achievement by earning a three-year average CCRPI Progress score in at least the 93rd percentile in the state

Several Dawson County High School athletic teams were recognized for excellence in baseball, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls golf and boys and girls track.

Brody Hughes made a presentation to the Board regarding Hightower Academy (HTA) and how future improvements will better meet the needs of our non-traditional students.

The Board also heard from Tracy Stanford from Mountain Education Charter High School. Stanford discussed MEC’s desire to offer options for area students who are not currently being served by DCHS or HTA. MEC is a state-chartered, SACS accredited public high school that offers programs for dropout recovery and dropout prevention. It operates year round, Monday through Thursday from 4:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. and offers rolling enrollment and flexible attendance.

The Board unanimously approved:

The adoption of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s GO Math for Dawson County Schools K-5 elementary math resource/textbook instructional materials;
Overnight travel for Dawson Co. High School volleyball team Camp/Lock-in to improve their volley ball skills;

FY ’17 Additional Budgets for Debt Service, Capital Projects, Title I, Title IIA, Title VIB, Federal Preschool, Bright Start, GNETS, JROTC, and School Food Service;

The May financial report;

The May eSPLOST report that showed collections of $561,908.16, exceeding projections by $11,908 and surpassing last year’s receipts for the same month of $527,114;

A resolution to declare piece of parcel #086 006 as surplus and unnecessary between 7/1/16 thru 6/30/18 so that the Superintendent can enter into an agreement with Southeastern Site Development for its use during the DOT bridge replacement on Hwy. 9;

Per Diem for Board members.

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