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Anna K. Davie Elementary gets new principal; Rome BOE also OKs ELOST resolution

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Clifton Nicholson, who has been an assistant principal at Daniel McLaughlin Therrell High School in Atlanta, will take the reins as principal at Anna K. Davie Elementary on July 10.

The Rome Board of Education approved the hire during Tuesday night’s meeting. Nicholson will replace Parke Wilkinson, who will fill the principal vacancy at Rome Middle left by the retirement of Greg Christian.

Rome City Schools Superintendent Lou Byars said the job search, which started last month, had been narrowed down to three candidates before Nicholson was chosen.

Nicholson also has worked as an instructional coach, with a “strong focus” on literacy, and has a passion for closing achievement gaps and working with students, said Assistant Superintendent Brittney Wilson. The main goal for any elementary-level administrator, she continued, is to get kids reading on grade level, where students can further their education by transitioning from learning to read to reading to learn.

Also on Tuesday, the board approved a resolution to clear the way for a Nov. 7 referendum on an extension of the 1-cent education local option sales tax.

The board’s move comes a week after the Floyd County Board of Education approved a similar resolution. The question voters will see on their ballot this fall lists the proposed projects to be funded with the tax collections for both school systems.

Rome City would build a new Main Elementary at its current site, estimated to cost between $10 million and $11 million; refurbish North Heights Elementary into a STEM-focused sixth-grade academy, projected to cost $8 million to $9 million; and construct a new building at Rome High to mainly serve as a college and career academy, with an approximate price tag of $14 million.

There are no exact costs for the projects since they are still in the planning stage, Byars said Monday.

Technology improvements, security upgrades, bus replacements and possibly adding space to elementary schools are also included in the project list. These lower-priority projects would be reserved at about $5 million to complete.

Collections for the system under a new ELOST would not exceed $31.2 million.

A portion of the work on Main Elementary would be paid for through remaining money from ELOST 4 collections, and state capital outlay funds would assist in paying for the North Heights project and applicable portions of other projects, Byars previously said.

Collections for the current ELOST end March 31, 2019, and, if voters decide to continue the tax, the new ELOST would pick up in April 2019 and run for five years.

Board members also approved next year’s budget — the current fiscal year ends June 30 — with a recommendation for the City Commission to keep the system’s property tax rate at its current level of 17.45 mills for another year.

However, once the tax digest comes in, the board may need to amend the budget to reflect a shifting of the property tax rate to a rollback rate, Byars said.