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Political Debates
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By: Eddy Gifford, Publisher

 

The Dade County Board of Education held their monthly work session/special called board meeting on Monday at Dade Middle School.

Dade Middle School principal Karen deMarche’ gave special recognition to Alex Barker and Anna Barnhart, both 7th grade students, for their efforts in    the Ronald McDonald House project creators.

Also recognized at the meeting by Superintendent Shawn Tobin was George Nelson of the Southeast Lineman Training Center for his efforts in clothing for needy families in Dade County.

Jill Schauer of Accellent was recognized for her efforts in the Christmas for needy families that Accellent does each year.

Terri Bain of Trenton United Methodist Church was recognized for her backpack food that provides meals for needy children on weekends and holidays.

Dade County High School principal Josh Ingle recognized Alexis West and Kristina Doyle for their Local Hero Dinner that recognized local emergency personnel.

Ms. Rita Lawson, Chairperson of the College and Career Academy Steering Committee gave the Board a report on the committee’s efforts so far.

Participation on the steering committee has been better than they had hoped she reported with 26 local businessmen participating.

Discussions of the committee covered a wide range of subjects including some of the skills missing from local applicants and what was needed in terms of classes to better qualify local residents to qualify for job openings.

In addition to the seven elected to serve as officers of the committee numerous people volunteered to serve in other was, including surveying local businesses as to their needs in a work force.

The Steering Committee has also been in discussion with Georgia Northwestern Technical College about partnering with Dade County Schools in the Career Academy. This partnership is essential for the program to work.

Lawson reported the Committee had heard from guest speakers from Calhoun City Schools about the benefits and challenges of becoming a College and Career Academy and those meeting had been very informative.

Lawson also reported their next step was to hold community meetings to inform the public and get their input as well. Currently 7 community meetings are planned in the near future.

They are also planning to visit existing College and Career Academies that are already up and running.

While this work is being done the Board of Education needs to approve the College and Career Academy and work with the Committee in moving in the right direction.

Grants are available for funding of equipment and additional space if it is needed. Up to $3,000,000 could be available in those grants.

The Steering Committee recommended the Board approve moving forward and Dade County becoming a College and Career Academy.

Each of the school principals then gave their monthly report of activity at their schools.

Karen deMarche’ reported that Dade Middle School had a great first half of the year and it was getting back to normal after the Christmas break and missing a couple of days due to the weather. Eighth grade writing assessment test are coming up on January 22.

deMarche’ also had a request for a fund raiser that has come up since the Board approved fund raisers at the start of school.

Tracy Blevins, Dade Elementary School also had a fund raiser request and also reported a good first half of the year.

James Fahrney reported that Davis Elementary had a fund raising request and announced his student and teachers of the month.

Josh Ingle, Dade County High School, had 18 fund raising request and reported they will be registering students between January 15-24 and that meetings can be set up with councilors to assist parents and students with registering.

He also reported that attendance at the high school through December 20 was 94.63 percent.

James Fahrney also reported on technology updates that have taken place recently in the school system.

All core switches have been changed out and the bandwidth from TVN has been increased from 100mb to 300mb. That has improved the speed of the network tremendously.

Fahrney commended Lionel Austin with Trenton Telephone for his assistance in getting the bandwidth changed and helping them work through the changeover.

Fahrney also recommended that the Board award the contract for the surveillance equipment at Dade Elementary School to VTS at a bid of $115,552.90. The other bid, from Intec was for $118,846.95.

He stated that VTS has vast experience in education and they attended both pre-bid meetings and spent 2.5 hours going over every camera location. In all 70 cameras will be used at the Elementary School.

Annice Newton, Special Education Director reported that they have received their special education compliance report and everything was in order.

She also reported that they had been working with Anderson Audiology but they had sold the business and that records were being transferred to Dr. Joseph Holmes with Holmes Audiology.

Superintendent Shawn Tobin gave his report. He requested a change order be approved to add a head wall and storm pipe at the double gates at the baseball field at a cost of $8,844.00.

Tobin also gave a SPLOST comparison for the past three December amounts.

In December 2011 SPLOST money received was $211,655.79; 2012 was $190,818.43; and 2013 was down to $169,631.13.

When the current projects are paid for the SPLOST account will have approximately $2,231,809.48 and with additional money coming in over the next five months the amount should be around $2,957,809.49.

With projects that are currently being discussed that include roofing the high school, new tennis courts, video and networking, computer replacement, language arts textbooks and other projects the ending balance could still be near $1,000,000.

Superintendent Tobin reported that capital outlay money for roofing the high school had been approved by the state so a large amount of the outlay would be coming back to the school system for this project.

Quotes have been received for HVAC repair with Reeves Heating and Air being the low bidder at $65.00 per hours compared to JMS at $86.00 per hour and Electronic Controls at $80.00 per hour.

Superintendent Tobin reported that work has started on the School Calendar for 2014-2015.

The weather make-up day will be Monday, February 17.

It was also reported that next week’s regular meeting will start at 6:00 p.m. and will be held at the central office.

At that meeting the Board will elect a chairman and vice chair.

The Board then voted to approve the Public School Charter System with all members voting approval.

The Board then went into executive session.

When they returned they approved the Superintendents personnel recommendations on the following personnel:

Resignations: Autumn Sigler, varsity softball coach; Rachel Lawing, art teacher (DMS and DCHS); and Bertha Moore, DES cafeterias staff.

New Hires included: Sonya Cloud, cafeteria staff; William Randy Cloud, custodian DCHS/DE; Jeff Poston, teacher; Paige Kimball, academic coach at Davis; and Samantha Carson, teacher.

Coaching positions also approved were Bradley Warren as boys golf coach and Randy Watson as girls golf coach. Board Member Johnny Warren abstained and all other members voted to approve.

The meeting was then adjourned.


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