BOE presents Tentative Budget with August Spending Resolution

Board of Education, News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – As they have continued awaiting budget information from the state who is still recovering from delays due to he Coronavirus spread, the Gilmer Board of Education is moving forward with their tentative budget now as they are receiving those numbers.

According to Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs, state decreases are further hindering the budget with shortfalls on support funds. However, utilizing the CARES Act grant, the school is looking to fill in some of the gaps in technology, supplies, and other needs that are still seeing gaps. The school system reduced all of its budgets by 10% and then looked for staff positions that saw people leaving and decided not to refill those positions.

Despite the cuts, the board is still looking at a budget with expenditures over revenues, a not uncommon sight in the school system’s planning in recent years. According to the advertised budget, that gap will reach an estimated $2,573, 032 between the revenues under the expenditures. Covered by the boards fund balance, the issue has seen progress between the beginning of the year “budgets” vs end of year “actuals” previously. The board just approved their financial summary for July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020. In that fiscal year, the board budgeted a $3 million gap, but the end of year “actuals” presented said the board actually met their expenditures which were held far lower than budgeted. They ended with a revenue over expenditures of $207,873.

budget

Gilmer BOE’s Tentative 2021 Budget

However, looking at last year, the school saw $26,339,574 funded from state sources, which fell short of the expected, budgeted, $28,566,082 funding. This year’s tentative budget is already seeing a decrease to $25,784,011 expected.

The schools total expenditures for FY 2021 is $41,575,332. The total revenue for FY 2021 is $39,002,300.

If nothing changes except costs continuing to increase, Finance Director Trina Penland noted in a 5 year forecast for the board that the school’s fund balance could dip down to $2.3 million. However, Penland pointed out that the notation is a rough estimate assuming nothing changes and the school system does not make attempts to mitigate this like they did in last year’s budget.

Budget

Gilmer BOE’s 5 year tax history

Instead, she urged the board that these forecasts are meant to give an idea of the future so that the board does not only focus on the current year at the expense of the future.

The board is expecting to meet in a special called meeting to hear public input on the budget in August before they meet on August 20 to discuss final adoption of the budget.

Alongside the budget, this day will also see final approval of the Board of Education’s Millage Rate.

 

 

Board of Education advertises Millage Rate

Board of Education, News
rate

EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer County’s Board of Education presented advertising for their 5 year Tax history and a Tentative Millage Rate to seek final approval in August.

Looking back over recent years and comparing to 2020, the digest saw an overall 4.6 percent increase countywide. According to Director of Finance Trina Penland, the county’s exemptions increase by 3 percent as well. Part of the increase came from a senior’s exemption increase of roughly 10 percent.

According to Penland, Gilmer is the only county that has unlimited senior exemptions in the tax digest. But because that exemption is a local exemption, the school still pays taxes to the state on the funds not collected due to the exemption.

The current millage rate sits at 14.248 mills for the Board of Education. As they look at the calculated rollback rate to prevent them from collecting any more that last year, Penland presented the Rollback Rate to the board at 13.963 mills.

If the board does not accept the Rollback Rate, Penland stated they would be collecting an additional $351,000.

Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs presented her recommendation that the board accept the Rollback Rate, and with a motion and second, the board unanimously approved the rate.

Millage Rate

Gilmer County Board of Education’s Director of Finance Trina Penland

Additionally, Board Member Jim Parmer, stated that he appreciated the work that the finance staff and Dr. Downs put in. He went on to say, “Honestly, If we were going to do furlough days, I would say let’s keep our rate. But ya’ll have said you’re not doing that…”

Through additional discussions, Penland stated that the Rollback should collect just over $17 million. But adding in a look at the history, Penland stated, “If you look back at the history. When you look back in 2009, that was before the first recession, the school collected $24.7 million in property tax revenue. We have cut back. We have cut programs, benefits. We have cut everything to be as close as we can on the budget.”

She also noted several rollbacks including one that rolled back more than the recommended rate.

The Rollback Rate will go through the advertisement process and see final approval in August before sending the rate to the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners for their approval alongside their millage rate and implementation into the new tax year.

Gilmer Schools asks for opinion on exempting Georgia from Testing and CCRPI

News
2020-201 Calendar, graduation, Renovations, Financial Distinction, return, testing

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer Schools is reaching out to parents, students, educators, and citizens to offer their opinions on Milestones testing and the College and Career Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI) through a survey.

Although linked on Gilmer Schools’ social media, the Georgia Department of Education is marked atop the survey as they seek a response about their request for waivers of these annual tests and reports

According to a joint statement from Governor Brian Kemp and State School Superintendent Richard Woods of the Georgia Department of Education:

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, we have urged common sense regarding compliance in Georgia’s public schools, and a focus before anything else on the health, safety, and well-being of students, families, and school staff.

“On March 16, Georgia became one of the first states in the nation to suspend standardized testing requirements in the wake of the COVID-19 school closures, and later received approval from the U.S. Department of Education for the cancelation of all remaining standardized tests in the 2019-2020 school year.

“Given the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic and the resulting state budget reductions, it would be counterproductive to continue with high-stakes testing for the 2020-2021 school year. In anticipation of a return to in-person instruction this fall, we believe schools’ focus should be on remediation, growth, and the safety of students. Every dollar spent on high-stakes testing would be a dollar taken away from the classroom.

“Georgia will submit a waiver to the U.S. Department of Education for the suspension of the 2020-21 Georgia Milestones assessment and CCRPI school and district rating. To our knowledge, Georgia is the first state in the nation to make this announcement for the upcoming school year. Additionally, effective immediately, the Georgia Department of Education is suspending the teacher evaluation (TKES) summative rating for 2020-21.

“These efforts are in line with our longstanding shared belief that assessment has a place and a purpose in education, but the current high-stakes testing regime is excessive. Though the legislative session was shortened due to COVID-19, we are continuing to pursue Senate Bill 367, which aims to get Georgia’s state testing requirements in line with the federal minimum and maximize time for instruction.

“We are hopeful the federal government will recognize that the upcoming school year will not be ‘business as usual’ and will accept our request for a standardized testing waiver.”

The posted survey asks which county you live in and if you agree or disagree with this request, but also leaves ares for comments and written opinions on the topics as well.

FYN reached out today to Gilmer Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs for comment on the waiver and the survey and is currently awaiting response.

BOE discussing return to school at July’s end

News
2020-201 Calendar, graduation, Renovations, Financial Distinction, return, testing

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Though no exact details are available yet, the Gilmer Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs is meeting with the board, with faculty administrators, and with citizens and parents about details and options of the school to return along with its calendar schedule at the end of July.

Dr. Downs said, “Our district, along with the world, is grappling with an issue of enormous scale and human impact, and our hearts go out to all of those that have been affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. We believe it is our role and responsibility during this time to prioritize two things: the health and well-being of our students and staff while continuing to provide a quality education for our students.”

Downs added that the school is continuing to make its plans according to these priorities and according to the information given by both the state and our local community. The board is looking at survey results from questions about the school’s return sent only to parents of students along with meetings with security, Health Professionals, and others as they consider the details on the possible return. However, Dr. Downs said that the information coming in for them is still changing almost daily.

Gilmer Schools 2020-2021 Calendar

The process will continue, however, and plans are expected to reach a final decision by July’s meeting of the BOE in preparation of the calendar’s start date. If the calendar is followed, teachers will return for pre-planning and professional learning the last week of July, July 27 – July 31, and students will see their first day of school on August 3.

During this month, Downs said they will be reviewing all of their options and guidance from authorities like the Department of Public Health and state officials. She said they will make the decision “that makes the most sense for the students and families of Gilmer County. What works in California or what works in Fulton County doesn’t necessarily meet the needs of Gilmer County Students, so we will be looking at that through that lens.”

Downs did say they have a foundation of plans in place to keep both the children and staff safe when they return. She also noted plans in progress to expand digital learning through virtual school with the curriculum team. A relatively new program only rolled out in January, this could be expanded to a full K-12 program as an option for families in any grade that may not be comfortable to returning to face-to-face instruction in the near future.

With options available and plans set to explore several paths, Downs said exact details will be made available later so that nothing is said that might be different or changed soon.

Bids, Budgeting, and Personnel in May’s Board of Education

News
Gilmer BOE 2019, school closed, Graduation, Board, Education, Spending Resolution

EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – New bids for fuel and disposal were approved this month by the Gilmer Board of Education in preparation of the coming school year.

Presented during the work-session, the bids sheet shown each bid with the low bids highlighted, which were later approved as the awarded bids for the year. This saw Cherry Log Petroleum awarded with the bid of $9.95/gallon on Motor Oil and $9.96 for antifreeze. Petroleum Traders Corp won the bid for fuel at 0.0174 for Diesel and 0.0314 for ethanol free gasoline. Appalachian Propane won the propane bid at 0.774 per gallon. Scanna Energy won the Natural Gas bid for 12 months at 0.291 per therm. Advanced Disposal won dumpster service at $4,520.56 per month.

The Personnel approvals saw a minor dissent with Board Member Ronald Watkins abstaining from a couple of votes, he said he he didn’t want to vote against these people, but he wanted to see more priority and preference to local people over searching outside the county. He said, “I feel like we have got to take care of our own.” Watkins made special note on the current economy and the difficulty some may find in getting a job. Watkins said that while some may not interview as well, but if they have worked for us, and people vouch for them, then we know what we’re getting.

Pushing for more local preference, Watkins did vote yes on most of the personnel, it was only 2 people that he abstained from. He made sure to say that he wanted it known that he wasn’t against them and, therefore, would not vote no.

A final note, Gilmer may be looking for a spending resolution next month. Though progressing on schedule with the budgeting process during the last few months, the change comes from certain uncertainties in the county and warnings from the state about funding shortages. A comment was made during the meeting that the board may not get full details until July along with the funding. Because of these issues, the budgeting is taking a hit and the board could see major differences in the available funds. It was suggested outside of the meeting that the board may supplement some needs with fund balance, but the school system’s actual response will have to wait for final say from the state before they can make any real plans to cover or cut things.

BOE receives Financial Distinction award again

News
2020-201 Calendar, graduation, Renovations, Financial Distinction, return, testing

EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – According to Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs, Gilmer has won a Financial Distinction award again this year as it draws closer to the end of its 2019-2020 year.

Won it “again” because it is starting to become a common thing in Gilmer Schools Administration as the financial department, led by Director of Finance Trina Penland, won the award last year and the year before. They also received the award two years prior, meaning that while this is the third year in a row that Gilmer Schools and Penland have achieved this award, it is actually the fourth time in five years that they have gotten it.

While a representative from the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts was not at Gilmer’s meeting to deliver the award this year as they have done previously, Downs said this was due to the current outbreak situation, they did deliver their congratulations through Dr. Downs saying that they wanted to make the board aware of another year of excellence.

The “Award of Distinction for Excellent Financial Reporting for Fiscal Year 19,” as Down named it, is rare among the counties that are reported under this group. While the Board of Education and Penland did not know the numbers this year, previous reports on FYN confirmed that only 32 of the 159 entities audited in 2018 and only 27 of the 150 entities audited in 2017 received this award.

Dr. Downs accredited the hard work of the the entire Financial Department and Trina Penland as the Director to not only have achieved this goal once, but three times in a row. These awards are not just for one area, but include requirements from reporting, annual audits, and documentation.

Gilmer updates Graduation plans with tentative dates

Bobcat's Corner, News
Gilmer BOE 2019, school closed, Graduation, Board, Education, Spending Resolution

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Students are getting more updates as the administrative staff of both Gilmer High School and the Gilmer County School System continue working towards tentative dates for graduation ceremonies for seniors this year.

Throughout April, Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs has constantly updated parents and students of their work to offer recognition and honor for these students despite the viral outbreak and shutdown. That continued with their Special Called Meeting this week as Downs revealed specific dates for their plans.

Dr. Downs did say “tentative” dates for these events as the school system is still planning and looking at the changing environment.

The current plan does include other grades as those schools wish to hold a celebration for their students to collect some items they may have left, to see friends and teachers, and to provide a little closure to the school year.

Ellijay Elementary School will hold theirs on July 6, 2020. Clear Creek Elementary School and Mountain View Elementary School will hold theirs on July 8, 2020. Clear Creek Middle School will be held on July 9, 2020. Specific times or a time range have not been set yet as plans and events continue to formulate.

Answering the most asked question of recent weeks, Gilmer is attempting to address both Graduation and Prom this year. Dr. Downs announced during the meeting that they are looking to hold their actual graduation ceremony on July 17, 2020, with prom the Friday before, July 10, 2020. Again, the specific time has not been finalized yet, though some time slots are already being considered.

Gilmer is, currently, still planning on a televised recognition video on May 22, 2020, in recognition of students and their honors and achievements, but also wants to give students the actual chance to hold their real graduation in July. Filming will be going on in early May as students, staff, and the school board plan to be a part of the video.

 

Seamless feeding set to transition to Seamless Summer in May

News

EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs took a few moments to correct some confusion among the community this week addressing the Seamless Feeding program.

The current bus routes and Seamless Feeding Program will continue through May 22, originally scheduled as the last day of school, according to Downs.

She went on to say, “After May 22, normally, post-planning, we do not do meals. However, given to the current situation, I’ve asked Ms. Waters to just immediately transition into the Summer Feeding Program.”

Also due to the current situation, this year’s summer program will be drastically different. Maintaining the social distancing orders, there will not be the same level of engagement possible as usual. Dr. Downs said that this year, volunteers will not be staying for hours as they have normally done activities like reading, coloring, or playing games among others.

This year, the program will only have four sites with the food coming from the Mountain View cafeteria. Those deliveries will occur very similar to how the feeding program is going now, bringing the meals and passing them out while maintaining distancing orders. They will then leave the sites shortly after. Downs said that while the program may have lasted from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. most days, these sites will likely be closer to 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

These sites will include Tower Road, Mulberry Street, the Gilmer Health Department, and Ellijay First United Methodist Church.

The school system is still concerned with finding volunteers to help and trying to fill gaps with some administrative staff where possible.

The program will see a gap on Memorial Day, but will continue on May 26 as normal.

GMP approved for GHS Renovations Phase 3

News
2020-201 Calendar, graduation, Renovations, Financial Distinction, return, testing

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer High School is set to move ahead with Phase 3 of renovations after unanimous approval came for a GMP (Guaranteed Maximum Price) from the Board of Education during a special called meeting.

That GMP from Charles Black Construction totals $816,306 for the project. Through Charles Black, at least one subcontractor is already set and the Board is set to go forward with the project this summer.

Phase 3 is the Classroom phase of the multi-year renovations project for the school. It will include replacements for ceiling tiles, painting, and flooring updates. However, a few extra details are also included as they remove most of the floor outlets in science labs and dealing with an expansion joint in one area that they will look closer at during the process.

Their previous phases were Phase 1 for the cafeteria, common area, front offices, and Phase 2 for hallways upstairs and downstairs and media center.

This process has been underway for months as the school system has continually progressed on these projects throughout the year.

Previous phases, reaching back to 2018 in construction and earlier in meetings and discussions, were mostly completed over the summer. The only points left being finished during school years reached only a week or two into class time and were isolated to areas that would not affect students.

As students are not going to be back in the building for the rest of this year, we have not yet received a specific date on when these renovations will start this year.

Superintendent releases email to parents and seniors about graduation

News
Gilmer BOE 2019, school closed, Graduation, Board, Education, Spending Resolution

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer Seniors received good news about Graduation during the Board of Education’s April Regular Meeting as Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs read an email that was sent from Gilmer High School Principal Carla Foley.

The email noted details about the plans for graduation as well as a recognition on May 22, 2020. While some of these are similar to plans discussed earlier in the week at the work session, final details came through the email.

Foley said, “While we must wait to hold a large gathering, we do not want to let May 22nd pass without celebration.”

The school will give each senior an opportunity to walk across the field and receive their diploma with their parents and family members close by. They will video each senior having their name announced and receiving their diploma. Then, after having the videos = edited together, the plan is to air the Class of 2020 commencement proceedings on ETC 3 at 7 p.m. on May 22nd.

While these are the current plans as Gilmer will not be returning to class this year, the plans are in effort, according to Downs, to provide some closure to the year for these students through a graduation as well as a recognition day.

Downs did provide the specific details from the email later: 

  • Seniors will be able to pick up their caps and gowns at GHS on Thursday, April 23rd, between 12-3pm. Please enter the GHS campus via Old 5 and Bobcat Trail, and follow the signs and directions.

  • At that time, each senior will be given a paper with a number (1-265), date (May 6th-8th), and time (9am-3pm) to arrive at Huff-Mosely Stadium, via Bobcat Trail, behind the Larry Walker Education Center. You will not be allowed to enter the stadium via Old 5 or Legion Road.

  • Seniors and their family members (1 carload – maximum 6 occupants, including the senior) will arrive at LWEC no earlier than 15 minutes before your assigned time.

  • We will be working in groups of 5 seniors at a time. The first 5 cars, in numeric order, will be lined up and directed around the LWEC toward the visitor entrance of the stadium.

  • The first senior and his/her family will enter the stadium and check in at the table, and proceed to the podium. In order for seniors to participate in the walking ceremony/taping, all fines and fees must be paid in full. Look for an email indicating if your child owes any money for fees or fines.

  • Once that senior leaves the check in table, the next senior and their family will get out of their car, enter the stadium, and check in, and so on. Please do not leave your car until directed to do so by a Gilmer County Sheriff’s officer.

  • At the podium, the senior’s name will be announced, along with any academic awards and scholarships from the Gilmer Education Foundation they have received. (Applications for Gilmer Education Foundation scholarships are due by noon, on Monday, April 20th, to your child’s counselor)

  • The senior will then proceed to the middle of the field to receive their diploma cover and a folder with additional awards and scholarship information from me, and Superintendent, Dr. Downs. Actual diplomas will be mailed to students after May 22nd. Students need to complete the following Google Form to indicate where their diploma should be mailed: https://forms.gle/RFVfJEVViSNpRwsZA

  • Next, the senior will go to a table to pick up their yearbook. If you haven’t ordered your child’s yearbook yet, it is not too late. You can order online at: https://tinyurl.com/y8rz5q8y , or you can order and pay in person when your child comes to pick up their cap and gown on April 23rd.

  • Finally, there will be a place on the field where parents and family members can take pictures with your senior.

  • Each senior will be given 15-minutes on the field from check-in to picture taking. Please honor this time in order to keep the number of people on the field to a safe capacity for all involved.

  • If you cannot make the date/time you have been assigned, please let me know ASAP. A few time slots will be available on Saturday, May 9th, from 10:30-12:00.

  • If your child will not be participating in this ceremony, please have your child notify their counselor ASAP.

 

Foley also said that the school will plan a graduation event in which all seniors and their families can meet on the field and celebrate their accomplishments should current circumstances change over the summer. “We just don’t want to miss the opportunity to provide something at this time.”

Gilmer offers hope for citizens and students with considerations for Graduation

News
2020-201 Calendar, graduation, Renovations, Financial Distinction, return, testing

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Doing more than just a consideration for Gilmer High School students, the Gilmer county Board of Education is looking at plans and options to make sure something for graduation happens for seniors this year.

Not to be held back by the Coronavirus outbreak and shelter orders, the board looked at several options and discussed choices among themselves at this months work session. While Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs said that much of the comments from the public that she has spoken to say they want a real graduation planned for whenever the shelter-at-home ends, she did mention possibly looking at a video of sorts or livestream on May 22 when Graduation was supposed to be held.

She offered the option saying, “This is a May 22 commemoration of that date.” However, she asserted that Gilmer is not going to simply do a virtual graduation only if the public does not want it. They would still work towards the actual graduation later. She went on to note that these seniors are not just missing graduation, but honors night, scholarship night, and similar additional ceremonies recognizing these students and their hard work.

A video or livestream would fill in with families, individually visiting the field at different times and having there honors and scholarships announced to be pieced together in an overall video. However, this is still ideas. The BOE will continue planning and working with GHS and Principal Carla Foley to find the best plans and to involve students and parents in the plan.

An added note, some of the Board considered possibly holding prom later as well, but did not discuss it further as they wanted to focus on Graduation at this time. New information may come with tomorrow’s May 16 Regular Session or possibly next month.

Two major March events cancelled for Gilmer Schools

News
cancelled

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Announced in their March work session, the Board of Education is canceling this week’s groundbreaking ceremony for the Clear Creek Elementary School while Gilmer High School has also had its Reality Day cancelled.

During the meeting, Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs announced publicly that the ceremony will be cancelled saying, “Due to the current health crisis, we will cancel the groundbreaking.”

However, instead of postponing and rescheduling the event, they will simply move forward without it.

Downs said that they did not want to delay the construction project, possibly pushing out the completion date. Downs said, “I did say we would postpone it, but we do not want to postpone starting the new elementary school. So, we are going to have to break ground with no ceremony.”

Reality Day for the High School has also been cancelled, originally planned for March 31.

However, this event, run by Gilmer Family Connection, is run in partnership with the schools for the students. The event cancellation comes during the first week of school closures for Gilmer as Gilmer Family Connection Director, Merle Howell Naylor sent out the statement today.

Naylor said, “It truly is with great sadness that I am canceling Reality Day that was scheduled for March 31st.  The Gilmer County School system is closed this week and I’m sure it’s uncertain about next week with all the concerns about COVID19.”

Despite the cancelation, Naylor had only positive things to say for the large number of community members who were set to be at the event. Naylor said, “I truly thank you all for your willingness to volunteer for Reality Day and assure you that you will have an opportunity to volunteer next year.”

Gilmer Schools addresses Coronavirus concerns

News
GMP, Coronavirus

GILMER, Ga. – Amid concerns from a positive case of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Canton, Georgia, and responses of a possible exposure in Pickens, Gilmer County Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs answered concerns today with a statement about Gilmer’s preparations.

The school system has established health safety protocols already in place but Downs addressed the issue saying, “The Gilmer County School district has not received any reports of COVID-19 cases or contact potential at this time; however, the landscape of this issue has been changing each day. In light of the rapidly changing nature of this issue, our safety team has been working with information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Department of Public Health (DPH), and the Georgia Department of Education (GADOE) to plan for possible scenarios.”

As the situation changes and new stories on the Coronavirus develop, Downs assured families that while there is no issue with the virus in Gilmer Schools, they are preparing in precaution at this time.

Downs said, “The district is diligently following the guidance of the CDC and DPH in our response to COVID-19 and will continue to be proactive in keeping our schools, buses, and other facilities clean by utilizing our protocols for health-related conditions. We are also modifying those protocols, when necessary, to include any updated guidance received from the CDC and/or DPH.”

As they do move forward with precautionary measures, Gilmer has one option that Downs pointed out through technology to answer such a need. Downs said “While we are hoping we will not face any closures in the near future, our curriculum and technology departments are working diligently to expedite our 1:1 computer program for 6-12th grade to facilitate online instructional opportunities and building take-home lessons for our elementary students should we face any closures in the future.”

The Board of Education does have their monthly meetings scheduled for next week and we could be hearing more on the Coronavirus as early as Monday’s, March 16, Work Session at 5:30 p.m.

Gilmer approves GMP for Clear Creek Elementary

News
GMP, Coronavirus

ELLIJAY, Ga. – In a special called meeting in March, the Gilmer Board of Education approved their Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for Clear Creek Elementary School with Charles Black Construction Company.

The GMP is set at $15,910,671. The project is set to begin this spring as reported from the BOE’s February Meeting. According to reports, that date could be as early as late March or early April.

During their meeting, the board confirmed a few extra details including the use of the luxury vinyl tiles similar to those used in the high school. Despite being more expensive to install, Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs said it is more durable and doesn’t require the same waxing a buffing over summers and holidays that the older style of tiles required.

Some parts of the project will require the school system to follow up with certain internal projects like furnishings, technology, and security which are not a part of the GMP. Downs said the GMP is strictly for the construction of the facility.

As construction begins in the next coming weeks to continue over the summer, the Board of Education has said they will be hosting their groundbreaking ceremony soon. Additionally, the project is still not confirmed on the scale or need for adjustments to nearby county roads for the increase in traffic. However, the Board of Commissioners have held preliminary discussions about possible needs for turning lanes and road widening among others.

Doug Pritchett Announces Run for Board of Education

Election
Doug Pritchett

Doug Pritchett has announced his bid for the Board of Education Post 3 seat. Pritchett has served on the Board of Education since January 2019. In his announcement Pritchett stated “he would continue to be an advocate for all of our students in the Gilmer County School System. I will work with our Superintendent and the other members of the Gilmer County Board of Education to insure we provide the best possible education and learning environment for all of our students. We must work together and have a shared vision so our teachers can be effective in the classroom. We must always strive to improve the classroom experiences, programs and opportunities so students will be prepared to take the next step upon completion of their education in the Gilmer County School system.”

Pritchett is a retired banker with 38 years of experience mainly in Gilmer County. During his banking experience he has served as a President, Chief Financial Officer, Controller, Commercial and Retail Loan Officer and Branch Manager. He is married to Lynne Gheesling Pritchett, who taught Family and Consumer Science at Gilmer High School for 33 years. They have three sons: Kevin (Reagan) Pritchett, David Pritchett, Nick (Casey) Pritchett. Doug is a lifelong resident of Gilmer County. He is a graduate of Gilmer High School, Reinhardt College and the University of Georgia. He also has a banking degree from the Graduate School of Banking of the South at LSU.

Doug believes his banking experience particularly in the area of budgeting allows him to better evaluate and understand the complex financial matters the Board of Education must deal with on a regular basis. We must be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money while providing adequate funding for a quality education. It is our responsibility to work together as a governance team to represent our students as well as the community’s interest. Our actions must be within Board policies as well as state of Georgia and Federal laws and regulations.

The Gilmer County School system provides our students with a quality education, but we still have challenges and opportunities for improvement. My pledge is to continue to work to move our system forward for all of our students’ success. I would appreciate your vote and support on May 19.

BOE sells bonds for 2020 ESPLOST

News
BOE Bonds Raymond James

EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Moving to the selling of Gilmer BOE bonds, no public comment has been presented in any recent Board of Education Meetings to oppose or support selling bonds for the series 2020 ESPLOST (Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) funds.

Gabe Agan, Senior Vice President of Raymond James Georgia Public Finance, presented the final paperwork at a Called Meeting of the Gilmer County Board of Education on January 9, 2020. The Bond Yield is set at 1.53 percent for “All-inclusive True Interest Cost” with approval for up to $15 million in General Obligation Bonds.

The schedule is moving swiftly as the pricing was set on January 8, 2020. The Delivery Date is set for January 28, 2020. and Gilmer’s first Interest Payment date will be June 1, 2020. This debt will last through the next five years with a final Principal and Interest Payment date set for December 1, 2025.

BOE Bonds Gabe Agan, Senior Vice President of Raymond James Georgia Public Finance

Gabe Agan, Senior Vice President of Raymond James Georgia Public Finance, presents paperwork to sell bonds for the Series 2020 ESPLOST General Obligation Bonds for Gilmer County’s Board of Education.

According to the paperwork provided by Raymond James Georgia Public Finance, Gilmer is estimated to collect $24,302,765 assuming zero growth and report the school system’s final debt service to total $17,206,450.

This item was approved without contest in the Special Called Meeting for the Gilmer BOE before immediately moving to the Gilmer Board of Commissioners Meeting the same night for approval there. As with the bond sales, should ESPLOST not be enough to pay for the Debt service, the Gilmer Board of Commissioners will be set to impose a tax to cover the payments.

Back to Top

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!