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Pepperell Middle phase out to go before Floyd BOE

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Pepperell Middle School

The current Pepperell Middle School, which was built in the mid-1970s, is at 200 Hughes Dairy Road. Floyd County Schools has proposed building a new school as part of an ELOST package that will go before voters in November. (Spencer Lahr / RN-T.com)

A resolution to phase out Pepperell Middle School, paving the way to maximizing state funding for building a new school, will go before the Floyd County Board of Education tonight.

The board will meet tonight at 6 p.m. in the boardroom at the central office, 600 Riverside Parkway. Board members will caucus in Superintendent John Jackson’s office at 5 p.m.

With an extension of the 1-cent education local option sales tax secured, Jackson said the system can move forward with the phase out, knowing the funds for building a new Pepperell Middle at an estimated cost of $20 million will be there.

A phase out is essentially the school system telling the state Department of Education it plans to build a new school and will not ask for any state funds for the current school ever again. This sets the system up to receive more state capital outlay funding, which reimburses the system, for the new school.

Another piece to the system’s aim of maximizing state funding is taking Pepperell Middle classrooms off the middle school classroom inventory. This drops the classroom numbers, which the state looks at for its funding calculation, to a deficient level, subsequently boosting the need for capital outlay funding, Director of Facilities David Van Hook previously said.

Van Hook said Monday it’s still too early to tell exactly how much more the system will receive through this process.

A draft of a revised promotion and retention policy will also be presented to the board, but no action will be taken, as the system is still seeking further input. At the end of last school year, board members called for a more concrete policy — mainly applying to elementary and middle schools — to determine whether a student passes a grade or must repeat it, Jackson said.

This policy would establish criteria, such as Georgia Milestones scores, Lexile reading levels and benchmark assessments, that would be the basis for deciding promotion or retention, Jackson said. It would remove a degree of leeway principals and teachers have in making these decisions. The policy would take effect next school year at the earliest.

The board will also be presented with a resolution on the results of the recent election when voters approved the ELOST extension. It is a necessary step to allow the system to move forward with taking bonds out to get started on their projects under ELOST 5, Jackson said.

“We plan to sell bonds and use the proceeds to get some of the projects out of the ground,” he continued.

On first reading will be a revision to the school properties disposal procedures. The revised policy will have looser language to allow for the transfer of items from the system to a separate government entity.

Jackson said the system was approached by the Floyd County Coroner’s Office about acquiring the freezer at the closed Midway School for storing bodies at the new morgue.

The old policy required that property not used at a school be taken to the system’s central warehouse to be stored or put into use at another school, Jackson said. Or, if it was a “big-ticket item,” the board would have to declare it surplus and dispose of it by posting on govdeals.com or by auctioning it off, he continued. But when the coroner’s office came to the system with their request, system officials realized the policy may have been too restrictive, he added.