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Hiring of new Alto Park principal could come tonight, Floyd board to continue talks on school security

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Floyd County Board of Education

A candidate to become the next principal at Alto Park Elementary is expected to be recommended to the Floyd County Board of Education for approval tonight.

The board is set to meet at 6 p.m. in the boardroom at 600 Riverside Parkway. Caucus will begin at 5 p.m. in Superintendent John Jackson’s office.

Jackson said would not say who the candidate is or if they currently work with the system. They will replace current Principal Angela Brock who will retire April 30. It was announced during the Feb. 20 called meeting there were two candidates who would undergo final interviews.

An update will be provided on three directives from the board concerning school security, days after system officials met with local law enforcement and public safety leaders. A called meeting Feb. 20 ended with the board advising it would like further research done on adding more security personnel at schools as well as enhancing security infrastructure and protocols and the possibility of arming certain personnel.

Board members will hear what law enforcement said about the availability of additional officers and what cost this would bring to the system. Also, a security checklist is being developed for the review of the system’s facilities. Items on the checklist include isolating the main entryway from the rest of the school, ensuring exterior doors are locked and if there is a buzz-in entry system.

The aim is to create a subcommittee of the Local School Coordinating Council, a system-wide committee, to focus on school security. Representatives will take part in security walkthroughs and be able to make suggestions.

Mike Ruple, a school safety coordinator with Georgia Emergency Management Agency, and David Van Hook, the system’s director of facilities, have already completed several school security walkthroughs

Jackson said the topic of arming teachers was only briefly discussed. During that discussion it was suggested that law enforcement be responsible for the training of school personnel if that route was chosen. Also, it was suggested by law enforcement officers that if the system did decide to arm school personnel the firearms should be kept on their person instead of in a lock box.

Jackson said arming teachers would be a last ditch option.

The board will also discuss what can be done to make up instruction time lost to inclement weather — two days last month were used as makeup days. The only non-instructional day left other than spring break is March 23, a teacher planning day the Friday before that break begins, Jackson said. However, with that day just over two weeks away, it is cutting it close to designate it as a makeup day now, possibly interfering with families’ spring break plans.

Board members are also looking at approving a bond resolution, along with an additional resolution to authorize investing the bond proceeds in an LGIP — local government investment pool.

The system is seeking to sell $30 million in bonds to jumpstart construction on two of its marquee ELOST projects in a new Pepperell Middle School and a modernized Armuchee High before collections from the extended 1-cent education local option sales tax begin to come in. The closing of the bond sales won’t come until later this month.

Also, a resolution to withdraw an application for state capital outlay funding — which is on a reimbursement basis — will go before the board. The resolution is aimed at freeing up more funding for the system’s two major projects in the construction of a new Pepperell Middle and modernization of Armuchee High, Jackson said.

Work at Pepperell Middle had been included in the application, but by taking it off, the system would be able to file an application later on for the entire project of a new school. Also, the system needs to remove the application to go forward in phasing out the school, a move to generate more state funding by “taking it off the books,” Jackson said. The system essentially is indicating to the state Department of Education a new school will be built and it won’t ask for any funding for the current school again.

Instead of requesting state funding for installing air conditioners at the Garden Lakes Elementary and Alto Park Elementary gyms, the system is going to use ELOST 4 funds.

A $211,122 bid from Technology Integration Group for the conversion of the system’s existing servers to a virtualized format will also go before the board.

“We’re running out of space right as I’m talking to you,” Jackson said of existing, physical servers, which the system is having a challenge finding space for.

The conversion would take place after school or on weekends so instruction is not interfered with.