At the Gordon County Board of Education meeting, members voted to follow surrounding counties in replacing snow days with online lesson plans posted by teachers. Moving forward, in the case of canceled school for emergency weather, students will be given online assignments and be able to communicate online with teachers from home.
Also during Monday’s board meeting, a revised lawn care treatment bid from Trammel Lawn Care was approved for $354,348 after several months of negotiation.
At Friday’s work session, Director of Technology Bryan Nicholson presented the results of a trial run online learning day that took place on the district’s Jan. 29 snow day.
Surveys conducted by the technology department came back reporting 97 percent of teachers thought the online learning day served as a good replacement for snow days and better maintained students’ focus when school returned to session.
Online learning days have already been implemented by surrounding districts such as Calhoun City Schools, Floyd County Schools, Gwinnett County Public Schools and Whitfield County Schools. This program ensures that missed school days due to inclement weather will not have to be made up, neither through built-in days nor extended calendars.
Superintendent Susan Remillard recommended the board approve inclement weather days to be replaced by online learning days.
Board member Eddie Hall said that while he viewed this plan as beneficial to student growth, he was also wary of having unlimited online learning days.
“I would like to see (this plan) capped out after a certain number of days,” Hall said. “I don’t want to lock ourselves in with that as our only option.”
Members Chris Johnson and Dana Stewart expressed similar concerns. Johnson commented that while it is a good alternative for one or two snow days, it might need altering in the case of several consecutive days when school is called.
“I agree that we need a cap on how many days,” Stewart said, adding on that Friday’s work session expressed teacher’s support of the new alternative plans.
Remillard said there would be an option for future adjusting the online learning plan and the board indicated they would like to retain the ability to alter the plan in the case of several consecutive missed days. Remillard also recommended the district’s calendar still build in extra days for extended time off.
Following a vote in favor of replacing snow days with online learning days, the superintendent requested that the Jan. 29 snow day be replaced by the online learning trial run. The Dec. 11 snow day will be made up by having students come to school on March 15, which was originally scheduled to be a professional learning day for teachers.
The board approved of Trammel Lawn Care’s treatment bid for $354,348 after months of negotiation. In November, the board voted to ask for a rebid following Trammel’s first proposal, which was $426,536.50 to take care of the district’s lawn care and athletic field maintenance.
The board voted to accept the plan for Trammel to mow the properties every 10 days, leaving room for adjustments if necessary.
Director of Finance Mendy Goble said the contract would be for one year with the option to extend it once a year over the next five years. Goble also said though there were six companies who provided bids, not all of the six provided enough information for the board to make a well-informed decision. Therefore, the two bids in consideration were Trammel and Exterior Inc. since they provided enough detail and a full proposal, according to Goble.
Board member Hall commented on behalf of the board that they were appreciative of the work Goble had done to save the district close to $100,000.
This treatment contract would include occasional playground mulching, a yearly trimming of trees and additional needs of the district regarding property maintenance.