ELLIJAY, GA. – Casting the final vote for the coming ESPLOST, alongside votes on bids and lunch prices, set the theme for the Board of Education’s last regular meeting before school starts back.
As previously reported in last week’s BOE to call for an ESPLOST Election, the survey results were provided to board member along with the choices for the final item on the list of projects. While Gilmer County Charter Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs reiterated that the priorities of the new ESPLOST will remain with the continuing technology, security, safety, and bus purchases, this sets two major projects into Gilmer County’s Educational future.
Those projects take up two of the five items as set on the official ballot question which reads as:
(a) upgrading the technology used to support teaching and learning at all facilities, including the purchase and
installation of computers, laptops, tablets, mobile devices, servers, wiring, wireless antennas, and other technology upgrades with necessary hardware, software, and programs; (b) the acquisition, construction, equipping, and installation of safety and security equipment to improve security in all facilities located within the School District (c) the purchase of new school buses; (d) the acquisition, construction, and equipping of a new elementaryschool to replace the current Ellijay Primary School; and (e) the acquisition, construction, and equipping of a new performing/fine arts center, all in accordance with the facilities plans of the School District…
The official resolution was approved in a 4-1 vote with board member Nick Weaver as the dissenting vote. With earlier disagreements on which final project was to be implemented and the polled decision leaning towards the Performing Arts Center, this vote count was not entirely unexpected as the board’s poll on the project inclusion was a mirror outcome.
Moving forward with the ESPLOST at this point will see the Board of Education formally submitting their Notice of Sales and Use Tax For Educational Purposes Election to Gilmer County Probate Judge Scott Chastain, as Election Superintendent, to have the referendum voted on by the public in the November 2018 elections. Citizens will take this opportunity to voice their opinions on the ESPLOST and decide on the continuing the already in place ESPLOST for another cycle with its new projects.
Financially, the board is estimating $28 million in collections but is aiming high so as not to have an interruption in collections during the cycle.
Finance discussions continued through the meeting during the board’s nutrition and financial reports. The board voted unanimously to support a recommendation by Director of Nutrition Services Linda Waters to increase staff lunch prices from $3.50 to $3.75 and visitor lunches from $4.00 to $4.25. The quarter increases on each of these follow federal regulations which Waters’ recent changes to menus. She stated in the work session, “By Federal Regulations, we have to charge what it costs us to produce a meal.”
Additionally, the July meeting saw the board vote to approve fuel bids for the year. They awarded Petroleum Traders Corp the bid for diesel and gasoline at $0.0315 over costs of diesel and $0.0196 over costs of gasoline. They also awarded Thomas Oil for Propane at $0.95 per gallon.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Education had little business at its year-end meeting.
Finances became the largest part of the meeting as the board had few other action items to consider. As of the end of October, the Board had a financial statement reaching $3,419,094 of expenditures over revenue. However, not unexpected in October, Gilmer County Charter School System Chief Financial Officer Trina Penland says it was not unusual as November starts seeing property taxes and revenue coming in.
Looking at last year, November saw 42 percent of their revenue collected. The Board then ended December of 2016 with 77 percent of the revenue collected, meaning the board will expect to drastically reduce its expenditures over revenue in the next two financial statements for this year.
While not needing approval, Gilmer County Charter School System Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes provided an informational report to the board at its work session for purchasing policy.Previously approved, the Gilmer High School Band is continuing with its purchases of new equipment as well as a new truck for the CTAE/ Ag department.
The final item of the night, the board approved Staff Recommendations for December.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Mountain View Elementary teachers and staff donated 93 toys to Family Connection. Pictured is Tina Watkins, our school counselor who organized this event. Also pictured is Mr. Larry Naylor, who assisted in getting these toys delivered to Family Connection where they will go out to families in our community.
Forensic investigations have begun in Gilmer’s Board of Education as 56 people have reported incidents of identity theft as they have been filing taxes.
With both the IRS and a private RSM Securites investigation, local school administration has not found any breaches into their system. Officials have pulled email authentication logs, event logs, IP addresses, access logs, and additional files to review, but have not found correlations yet with those affected.
There does not appear to be a specific group affected either as Stuart Sheriff, Assistant Superintendent, Administrative Services, did tell FYN that affected employees have come from different departments, teachers, administrators, and even staff.
Since the investigations are ongoing, no additional information could be provided. However, Sheriff did tell FYN that the investigations are not only searching for the cause, but have also exposed certain vulnerabilities where School Administration has already improved security.
Additional precautions are also being taken according to Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes. And while Gilmer is being affected, no word has come from neighboring counties experiencing similar issues.
While no breach has been found yet, investigations are continuing into all possible connections between those affected.
Trumps Staff and Fannin Sheriffs on today’s Morning Monologue.