Education news

The Polk School District will now require employees who have been arrested to self-report their troubles to school officials, or face consequences for failing to do so.

In an unanimous vote during their February regular session, school board members approved of a policy change for administrators, teachers and staff that require them to report to their supervisors and the central office any infractions that landed them in jail.

If they fail to report the arrest within 48 hours of when it occurred, they face disciplinary action, including termination.

Additionally, if an employee is charged with a crime and fails to report it, they can face the same penalties.

The policy change is part of an update to the overall Georgia Professional Standards Commission Code of Ethics for educators statewide.

School board members weren’t solely focused on policy changes. They also approved continuing their support of Polk Family Connections by acting as their fiscal agent for the organization.

Executive Director Rhonda Heuer told board members the school system has been an excellent partner with her organization over the past years, which has two goals in mind for students. First and foremost, to ensure that students by the time they reach the third grade are reading on that grade level and continue to do so after, and to teach youth about the dangers of bad decisions they make.

The second goal is achieved by ensuring that every ninth grade student in Polk County goes through the annual Teen Maze held at the Polk-Haralson Christian Life Center annually, which follows with a survey over what they learned and how it impacted them.

Additionally, the board approved field trip requests for upcoming events across the state and country. That includes a Feb. 23-24 trip for Cherokee Elementary chorus students to take part in the State Honor Chorus in Athens, a March 8-10 trip for Cedartown and Rockmart high students who are set to participate in the state HOSA competition in Atlanta, and a March 22-24 trip for Rockmart High School’s automotive program to take part in an auto skills event in Atlanta.

Later in the year, students from the Beta Club at Rockmart Middle will be traveling to New York and Pennsylvania on May 27 through June 1 as part of their annual trip, and Van Wert Beta Club students will be taking part in the annual national convention in Savannah on June 12 through 16.

School officials received approval during the meeting to surplus and sell computer equipment that is outdated and been sitting unused for some time with an unanimous vote. That included projectors, old printers with missing parts, and computers that had been sitting in a storage area for at least 10 years, according to Superintendent Laurie Atkins.

Board members also heard the latest financial report for the Polk School District as of December 2017. After completing the first half of the fiscal year, the board had just over 1 percent less revenue than expected, but spent more than 11 and a half percent less than was projected in the FY 2018 budget.

The general fund balance was sitting at more than $8.9 million as of the end of the year following the collection of property taxes from local residents.

SPLOST accounts still had more than $4 million for the 2014 issue, while the newest account had only a single dollar for the time being, since bonds have not yet been sold.

Proceeds from SPLOST brought in $386,731.67 for the month.

Board members will be back in business starting on March 6 for their work session, followed by their March 13 regular session.