The Floyd County Schools Board of Education met for their third millage rate hearing Monday and later approved the lowered rate during the following board meeting at 8:30 a.m.

The board heard the proposed millage rate of 18.25 mills for a third time at 7:30 a.m. Monday. The rate saw no changes from the last two hearings. The millage rate is a combination of a proposed 9.480 mills for county government services and 18.25 mills for the school system.

“Even when times are tight we have been trying to give the taxpayers a break,” Superintendent Jeff Wilson said.

Board members also heard from Jack Gardner, the system’s new executive director of facilities, who gave a brief overview of county schools construction projects. Gardner has been with the system for five days and hails from Douglasville where he a facilities and maintenance coordinator for the Douglas County School system. Gardner says he has spent his first week getting acquainted with the system’s projects as well as the schools themselves — including how to properly say Armuchee.

On the facility front, Wilson and Gardner said the abatement at Pepperell Middle has concluded and demolition will begin this week. Air quality has been checked by inspectors and no leftover asbestos was found. Wilson said the delay in the demolition was due to the abatement finishing up close to Independence Day, which delayed the inspectors.

The final numbers for the middle school have not yet been set, however Wilson said the price will fall between $19 and $20 million. Once demolition is complete, construction crews will clear the site and the board will hold off on construction until their capital relay is approved by the state. The approval is expected in early September with the start of construction following soon after.

The board also heard from Craig Ellison, executive director of technology and media services, who brought before the board a contract for a new phone system. The system’s contract with AT&T is set to expire and when administrators reviewed renewing the services they found the phone company no longer carried what was needed, according to Ellison.

The proposal for the new system could cut costs significantly with the system paying around $2,700 a month for phone services instead of around $10,000 a month, which is the school’s current phone bill. The large phone bill used to be paid by the federal government, Ellison said, however that program has now been suspended.

County schools will have to put up over $187,000 initially for the new system, however, after 3.7 years the system will start seeing a return on their investment Ellison said. The schools would end up saving $49,000 a year with this new phone system, Ellison added. He projected it would take about a year to get the phones switched over and the project should be done by August 2020.

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