The Rome and Floyd County school systems are among 38 Georgia districts set to receive L4GA — Literacy for Learning, Living and Leading in Georgia — grants by the Georgia Department of Education, State School Superintendent Richard Woods announced today.
The goal of the L4GA initiative is to improve student literacy learning. Floyd County Schools will be awarded $3.23 million and Rome City Schools will receive $1.26 million. As a whole, Georgia was awarded $61,579,800 — the highest award received by any state — through the federal Striving Readers grant competition. Georgia was one of three states to receive the funding a second time after the initial grant cycle (2011-2016).
Ninety-five percent of funds are sub-granted to 38 districts. These funds are allocated for students in schools within a feeder system (including birth-age 5 childcare providers and elementary, middle, and high schools). All awarded districts have community-school partnerships with local organizations, the Regional Education Service Agencies, and teacher preparation programs to collectively improve literacy outcomes.
Sub-granted districts and their community partners were selected through an independent, competitive sub-grant process; they were chosen based on the strength of their applications. The Georgia Department of Education awarded funds to effectively improve outcomes for the largest possible population of Georgia’s students, and the broader L4GA initiative will provide support, including professional learning, for all Georgia school districts.
Floyd County Schools is slated to receive a $3.23 million literacy grant if the State Board of Education approves the measure during its meeting today.
John Parker, the assistant superintendent and chief academic officer for the school system, announced the news about the L4GA — Literacy for Learning, Living and Leading in Georgia — grant during Tuesday’s meeting of the Floyd County Board of Education.
“It’s gonna be a great thing for Floyd County Schools,” he said.
The state board meets today at 9 a.m. and the measure on the table calls for Floyd County Schools to receive $645,710.36 — 20 percent of the total grant award — in funds for the “initial implementation and planning of their (L4GA) grants,” according to information from the Georgia Department of Education. The remaining funds will be up for the board’s decision at the July meeting, where budget requests for the upcoming school year will be made, according to the state DOE. The funds for the grant come from federal funds earmarked by Congress.
Rome City Schools was also selected as a recipient, with their grant totaling $1.26 million, of which $253,025.80 will be provided as initial funds pending the state board’s decision today.
Also during Tuesday night’s meeting, Floyd board members approved Gainesville-based Carroll Daniel Construction Co. and Carrollton-based Ra-Lin and Associates Inc. as the construction managers at risk for the system’s two major ELOST projects. Carroll Daniel Construction will oversee the modernization of Armuchee High and Ra-Lin will be the construction management firm responsible for constructing a new Pepperell Middle. Carroll Daniel is partnering with local contractor Pinson Inc. Also, Ra-Lin was the firm the school system used for the construction of a new Coosa High.
The projects will be funded by an extension of the 1-cent education local option sales tax, which voters approved last fall. The modernization of Armuchee High has been estimated to cost around $25 million and a new Pepperell Middle is expected to cost $20 million.
The board also approved a $1.16 million purchase of 14 buses — 12 passenger buses with seating for 72 and two special education buses. Funds from the current ELOST will be used for the purchase. With the new buses, the age of the oldest buses actively used will be brought up to 2005 models. By adding these buses, every athletic bus will have air conditioning and each middle school will have two athletic buses.
During the middle of the meeting, a video of board members sharing their thanks and appreciation — as well as Jay Shell singing a custom version of “Sorry Ms. Jackson” by Outkast — for the work of Superintendent John Jackson, who is retiring June 30, was played. Jackson told a full boardroom his experience with Floyd County Schools has been the best of his life, as he expressed thanks to a support staff that truly has the best interest of students as their main objective.