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.
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.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Announcing the 2019 Teacher of the Year, Gilmer County’s Board of Education celebrated the award during their November meetings as they named Tina McDaniel as recipient.
Moving from School Teacher of the Year to the system-wide Teacher of the Year, McDaniel said, “This is just a great honor. It’s a blessing to be able to work with such wonderful people in this county. It’s awesome.”
Administration actually surprised McDaniel in first period Science class a week before they announced her during their meeting. McDaniel said she couldn’t believe that she had been named Teacher of the Year as the surprise came early in the morning. The celebration brought smiles to both the teacher and her first period students who shared cake with their teacher during the surprise.
McDaniel has been teaching for 16 years now. Her first year she taught 7th Grade Science and Social Studies, but the last 15 years have been spent in 6th Grade Science and is currently a PLC Leader. She was named Clear Creek Middle School’s Teacher of the Year in October where she was described as “greeting everyone on a daily basis with a warm and welcoming smile, inspires all students to learn through engaging hands-on activities, very well respected by her colleagues, and spends time in the community by being a soft ball and basketball coach for Gilmer Parks and Recreation.”
ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Education presented their Teacher of the Year awards during their work session held on Monday, October 21, 2019.
For Clear Creek Elementary School, Coach Hollie Kiker, employee of the physical education department for seven years.
Kiker was described by her coworkers as “energetic, actively involved in every aspect of learning, and challenging herself to make physical education a valued part of students’ day while incorporating grade-level standards.”
For Ellijay Elementary School, Katie Mayfield, described by colleagues as a “wonderful, caring teacher who not only does an amazing job in the music department, but takers her students into the community through chorus (such as the time she led a group of Elementary students in the National Anthem at a Suntrust Park Braves game).”
For Mountain View Elementary, Misti Foster, employee for six years (two at Gilmer Middle School, four at Mountain View Elementary) teaching art, EIP, and special education.
Foster has been described by her peers as “engaging, resourceful, enthusiastic, kind, gentle, and always has a smile on her face.”
For Clear Creek Middle School, Tina McDaniel, who is currently serving her first year with Clear Creek Middle School, though she has been with the Gilmer County school system for the past 16 years.
McDaniel is currently a sixth grade science PLC leader and teacher who has been described as “greeting
everyone on a daily basis with a warm and welcoming smile, inspires all students to learn through engaging hands-on activities, very well respected by her colleagues, and spends time in the community by being a soft ball and basketball coach for Gilmer Parks and Recreation.”
For Gilmer High School, Joseph Pflueger, who is in his 29th year of teaching at Gilmer High School.
He works with over 135 students on a daily basis.
Pflueger’s peers have stated that “I love to have band students in my classes because they are hard working, they know the expectations, and are very
respectful.” “My children love him better than me.” “I’m chopped pancreas, not even chopped liver.” “Maybe I can be a tuba in another life.” Aside from music, the students learn teamwork, cooperation, responsibility and integrity.
The Teacher of the Year Awards may be viewed starting at (18:35) in the video below!
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EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – With tomorrow set as the final day of delivery and closing out the “Stuff the Bus” event hosted by the Gilmer County Optimist Club, success is the word on everyone’s mouth as final tallies are being collected.
Those tallies showed, according to Event Chairwoman Molly Landry, that more citizens donated actual supplies than financial donations in recent years. While this is the first time she chaired the “Stuff the Bus” in its seven consecutive years of running, she did note that she had done similar events in south Louisiana in a community similar in size to Ellijay, Landry said this year’s event, “has been the most successful event I have been a part of.”
Landry said the club has collected $2,654 in financial donations for supplies, but the real surprise came when she said the schoolbus driver told her he had never seen the bus so full. There were only five empty seats on the bus and every other seat had “boxes on top of boxes, ” Landry said.
That may seem like a “close-but-not-quite-stuffed” kind of situation. However, according to Gilmer Optimist Club President Lisa Salman, the event’s success is only just beginning as they still have one more day of box collecting and deliveries to the Gilmer County Charter School System’s Board of Education.
Alongside citizens and business owners, Wal-Mart also offered a discount on the supplies purchased with the $2,654. Landry said they purchased everything from backpacks and notebooks for the kids to items like calculators and paper supplies for the classrooms.
The accomplishments of these volunteers were felt throughout the county, but especially in the Board of Education, the go-between for this supply drive and the students who benefit from it.
Pritchett said, “It’s very encouraging. We’ve got a lot of groups in our community that are constantly reaching out and helping with the school system.”
Pritchett went on to call it a “real strength” of the community that so many care for students and children, having not only the Optimist Club hosting, but businesses supporting them, and citizens donating.
With the event completed, these supplies will travel to the Board of Education. The administration will begin distribution as they respond to schools calling out for what they need for their students.
Gilmer County Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs said, “I am always amazed at the incredible generosity of those in our community who donate both school supplies and funds to “Stuff the Bus.” Our school social worker and counseling department use the supplies throughout the year to help our neediest children to be prepared with school supplies. Our teachers appreciate all of the extra disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, and Kleenex they receive to use in their classrooms.”
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Despite a delay preventing them from announcing the millage rate at their work session earlier this week, the Gilmer County Board of Education announced and approved advertisement of the 2019 Millage Rate on July 25, 2019.
Looking at the tax digest representing a 3.33 percent increase in the net digest, Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs recommended the Board stated to the Board, “After accounting for the reassessment of real property and the inflationary growth, the calculation of our 2019 Rollback Millage Rate is projected to be 14, 248 mills.”
Board Member Jim Parmer questioned how major the difference would be between the current and rollback rates. Downs answered him saying, “Not much.”
With the Superintendents recommendation, the motion to acceptance of the Rollback rate was unanimously approved for advertisement.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Demoliton plans are underway with the Board of Education (BOE) as they will be taking down the old Central Office Building and annex.
The building, located on Gilmer High School’s Campus, will be demolished by bid winner Anderson Atlanta, Inc. But the process getting there has been questioned by Board members due to a slightly unusual bid range. The six companies, whose bids were presented in the June BOE meeting, ranged from $28,500 to $92,050.
The large range caused concerns as Board Member Ronald Watkins questioned what guarantees the Board had for completion at that price. Facilities and Maintenance Director of Operations, Bob Sosebee told the board that it wouldn’t cost the Board anything to let them try. He later explained with FYN that Anderson Atlanta will be responsible for every part of the demolition including the actual tear down, disconnection of utilities like water/sewer and electrical, permits, and disposal of the detritus.
Demolition is set to begin on July 8. While Anderson Atlanta has 90 days to complete the contract, Sosebee has said he has had several talks with the company, who has sent representatives to inspect the site, in which they have estimated they could complete the contract in a matter of weeks. As such, confidence is high that the demolition will be completed before school starts again in August.
The board has not expressed specific plans for the area after demolition, but Sosebee said they do intend to continue using the area for parking until the board decides on something different.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Final approval for the 2020 Tentative Budget came this week with the vote by the Gilmer County Board of Education (BOE).
The board approved its $44 million budget unanimously after the last two months of work. This budget will be a $1,674,852 increase over the FY19 budget (as presented in June 2018). This is also a $4,852780 increase over the FY18 budget (as presented in June 2017).
Looking back over the past budgets since 2016, tuition costs alone have increased by between $500,000 to $600,000 each year except this one, showing a $1,456,345 increase since last year.
The budget also estimates $3,060,919 of expenditures over the Board’s revenue, further draining the board’s fund balance, estimated to sit at $14,839,081 in June of 2020. However, in some previous years, such the 2017-18, these expenses turned out to fall closer to even than predicted as the tentative budget expected to fall to $19.4 million, but actually only lost around $100,000 by fiscal year’s end.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Following a resolution to expedite construction of a new pool, many citizens are still calling to know where this pool will be built. Suggestions have pointed through most of the BOC’s talks at property next to the ball fields at Clear Creek.
Those indications and rumors were confirmed this week with an executive session for the Board of Education that culminated later in their regular meeting with a vote to donate land to the county for this use. The vote for this resolution came strangely, however, as the second for the motion came from boardmember Tom Ocobock who then, after no board discussion was raised, voted no. The final vote for the resolution was 4-1 to authorize Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs to initiate the paperwork to convey 30 acres to the Board of Commissioners.
This vote came shortly after a public comment by Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlie Paris addressing a different comment made by one of the other Commissioners to make the BOE pay for the construction of the pool. Paris said the BOC has not considered this option and wouldn’t consider the option. Further, he noted that the comment should not have been made by a board member who did not have the authority to make the comment. He apologized for the comment noting that he wanted to avoid a return to “open hostility” between the two entities that has been the status of their relationship in the past.
The BOC is moving forward with construction, now with this resolution, it seems that the pool will be constructed at the Clear Creek location.