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Rome BOE approves work-based learning partnership

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The Rome Board of Education gave the go-ahead for the school system to develop an MOU — memorandum of understanding — with the Northwest Georgia Housing Authority to finalize a work-based learning partnership.

Tim Williams, the chief operations officer for Rome City Schools, ran over the details of the partnership with the board during its meeting Tuesday evening.

A housing authority building at 704 Avenue B that is mainly used for storage will now have access to it opened up for students in construction pathways. Williams said the building already has existing equipment inside, namely table saws, a band saw, a miter saw, a planer, an air compressor, a drill press and a router. Each piece of equipment is something students can use.

Superintendent Lou Byars said students can go to the site for real-world work experience and use the facility for furthering their third-year education in their pathway. The third year in pathways is mainly concerned with developing students’ actual work experience, he added.

Williams also updated the board on the system’s light project with Georgia Power. The project is being tested out at West End and West Central elementary schools with one classroom in each school having LED lights installed starting next week. After this work is done, the system will evaluate where to take the project next.

The system doesn’t have to commit any up-front capital for the project, which is estimated to result in 50 percent to 80 percent in energy savings. Also, Georgia Power will have a written guarantee that annual savings for both schools after they have been completely outfitted with LED lights will be at least $36,268, Williams said.

 LED lights have a longer lifespan before replacements are needed than the current lights and require less maintenance, according to information presented during the meeting. Williams said the price point for LED lights has dropped in recent years, making it more feasible for the system to pay up front.   

The total cost of the project is $301,379, but a $39,878 rebate would knock that down to $261,501. Williams said the system has two options, ELOST 4 funds could be used to pay for the lights and the savings could be put into the operating budget, or the savings could be used for the project over a 10-year period.