The board also approves several field trips and a bandwidth increase request.

The Polk School District is now contracting out their school nursing program after receiving a trio of bids for the service, and chose Floyd Medical Center to put nurses into schools.

With a low bid of $359,000, the area hospital will be taking over the program after the end of the school year. Interim superintendent Greg Teems said that Westside Elementary School’s nurse Kathy McKelvey will be retained with the Polk School District since she is a longtime employee and near retirement.

“No one is losing their jobs,” Teems said.

Instead, Floyd Medical Center will hire on the rest of the nurses currently employed by Polk School District, and will also be handling all equipment and supplies cost as part of the agreement.

They’ll also be giving resources to the school nurses in all ten schools, and provide opportunities to have work during the summer if they choose in other programs within the Floyd Medical Center network, overseen by Floyd Healthcare Management which includes Polk Medical Center.

Floyd Medical Center came in as the lowest bidder and the only group to make a presentation to the board during an open meeting. The other bidders included EDU Healthcare out of Hunterville, N.C. who provided a proposed bid of $467,680 for an annual contract, and EPIC Healthcare of Dallas, Texas who sought $481,000 for their services annually.

The local hospital system already provided trainer and ambulance services to Polk School District over the past years for athletic events during the year.

Board members approved the new contract 4-1, minus Hal Floyd who was absent from the meeting with personal issues. Grady McCrickard opposed the idea and voted against the bid.

Other measures on the agenda for the April board meeting passed unanimously, including a tabled item for increasing the amount of bandwidth the school district currently has for student and faculty use.

The increase was set aside during a March 29 special session when board members sought more information about what the increase was for, and how it would help students.

Other issues before the board that were approved included a request for a proposal to remove a house and outbuilding owned by the school board on Collard Valley Road, originally purchased in the 2000s as a potential entryway into the back for Westside Elementary School and Cedartown High School.

Teems said he wanted to seek costs for removing the building because he had severe reservations about leaving the house still standing since it was a possible liability for the school system with the potential for homeless to use it as a temporary shelter.

However, he didn’t want to waste the buildings and give people a chance to provide costs for how much it would cost to take them away instead.

Teems also sought approval for getting bids for a Tax Anticipation Note, which would give the school system a line of credit if needed before Special Purpose, Local Option Sales Tax funds for the system from 2014 become available in October.

Board chair Tommy Sanders made it clear that tax revenues from later in the year would be used to pay back the note if needed, and that the board was not taking out any loans at this time.

“We just want to have the bids available to approve should it become necessary, and not have to wait and have another meeting to handle it,” Teems added.

A withdrawal for funds to be used in the 2016 Fiscal Year budget for construction work at Westside Elementary was also approved, since the work was never started after it was proposed in the 2014 SPLOST measure to add classrooms.

Then Superintendent William Hunter had changed the plan for the overall construction work in the system after the SPLOST was passed when administrators came to the conclusion the money would be better used elsewhere.

A number of field trip request were also approved by the board for the coming weeks and months, including trips for local Future Business Leaders of America to compete on the national stage in Jacksonville, Fla., trips to Washington, D.C. for local students, and a potential Liberty Bowl appearance for the Rockmart High School band if they are accepted by the bowl committee.

They had to apply for permission from the board to go before they could make the application to Liberty Bowl officials, Teems explained.

Public comments

With the board having taken off for Spring Break on April 3 as well, the combined regular and community input session saw two people wishing to address the board with issues.

Kevin King, who has spoken to the board in past months, came again but this time with an issue over technology use in the classroom.

He said his own son was suspended after he was discovered using a personal device in the classroom, and that though he understood the reason why but that the board needed to address and make a clear policy on using smart phones or tablets in the classroom.

“I encourage the board to think about these issues,” King said. “Our teachers need your support to help keep our children’s attention in the classroom.”

He added that he felt some of the ideas other schools have used across the country could be implemented in classrooms, including the use of buckets where students would have to deposit their devices before class, and could collect them after.

June Beck also addressed the board, but had high praise in a change of pace from recent comments. She said she’s been offering her previous teaching experience to help students at Northside and Cherokee Elementary Schools, working with English as Second Language students in helping them to grow and achieve.

She said she was proud of the “expertise and dedication of teachers in the Polk School District” and encouraged other volunteers to help out local students in schools.