Chairman Ted Stone stood throughout the meeting that started at 7 p.m. and did not adjourn until after 10:30 and never lost control of the proceedings although discussions became heated at times.
The majority of the crowd, including a large contingent of football players, appeared to be at the meeting to object to a notice of non-renewal received by an assistant football coach, but several teachers and other concerned citizens were also in attendance.
Nine teachers received notices March 4 because their positions will not be funded next year, and eight were informed their contracts will not be renewed because of performance issues.
Following the discussion about the non-renewals, work-based learning coordinator Dianne Banks gave a presentation on the program at Jones County High School. She talked about the positive impact of work-based learning for students and noted that the presentation to the board is a requirement of the program.
Banks helps the students with placement opportunities. She said all the placements flow through her, and 24 students are participating this year. The teacher reported that the students worked a combined 13,018 hours and earned $90,323 in salary.
Superintendent Jim LeBrun presented an overview of the budget and explained a funding loss of $1,774,930 from the state and an additional 3 percent for 2010. He said the problem is compounded by the $5 million in austerity cuts by the state of the past five years.
The superintendent reported that all school principals were attending a GLISI (Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement) summit that is excellent training program at no cost to the school system. The summit is the second segment of the training, which reviews concepts of improvement as a team effort for the entire system.
LeBrun said GLISI is sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the new elementary school on Turnerwoods Road was the next topic of discussion. LeBrun said he met with architects and Parrish Construction Management and could not recommend the additional funds needed for the certification.
He said the improvements needed for the certification could add as much as $1.5 million to the cost of the school.
According to the U.S. Green Building Council website, the LEED rating system encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.
LEED is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.
Board member Mark Andrews asked to see the specific items involved and their costs.
LeBrun explained that the school is energy efficient, but the goal is to meet the standards for a green school without expending more funds. The item was tabled per Andrews’ request to investigate requirements further.
The LEED certification is graded on a point system, and the school has 22 of the 29 points needed
“That’s pretty close,” board member Deloras Moon said. “Obviously we are not going to spend another million dollars. I don’t want to spend another dollar.”
The superintendent said bids for the construction of the new elementary school will go out this month, and Stone explained that it is important to go forward with the building of the school in order to benefit from $5 million in state funds.
“At the end of five years, the school is paid for. With the state funds, we are building the school at half price,” the chairman commented.
LeBrun reported that bids were obtained for the air conditioning system at Gray Elementary. He said the elementary school is 42 years old, and the air conditioners need to be replaced. He recommended that the Board accept the low bid of $12,364 by Bryant. Board members voted unanimously in favor of the recommendation.
Following a closed session, LeBrun made a recommendation for the hiring of several part-time employees to complete the year and announced the retirement of office manager William Collins and administrative assistant/benefits coordinator Beth Jernigan.
A motion was made in favor of the recommendation, and it was passed unanimously.
The final item discussed at the meeting was presented to the Board by JCHS senior class president Emily Ward. The student asked why her class’s graduation was moved from the football field to Milledgeville.
LeBrun said the decision was made as the result of a survey last year. He said the results of the survey indicated that 80 percent of the participants wanted it moved to an inside facility that would accommodate everyone.
Ward said she nor any of the seniors she knew took part in the survey and they want the graduation to take place on the football field.
LeBrun said he would speak with JCHS principal Chuck Gibson.
“We want to abide by the wishes of the students and parents,” he said.