Lemon Street rendering.JPG

Superintendent Grant Rivera’s plans for a new central office include the renovation of the former Lemon Street Grammar School.

The Marietta school board is scheduled to discuss the nearly $3.5 million price tag for the renovation of the Lemon Street Grammar School and a spending resolution allowing one month's spending at the body's work session on Tuesday.

The grammar school renovation is part of the larger Lemon Street campus project, to include a new district central office in Marietta, which was delayed by concerns over revenue shortfalls stemming from COVID-19. The renovation project would be awarded to Parrish Construction Group.

The spending resolution is also a result of COVID-19 closures, as, like the Cobb School District, Marietta waits for state lawmakers to pass the upcoming fiscal year budget before discussing district expenditures.

Lemon Street Grammar School

Marietta schools Superintendent Grant Rivera in March 2019 proposed a new central office to be built on the former site of Lemon Street High School at 353 Lemon Street. The plan also called for the renovation of the Lemon Street Grammar School across the street.

The Marietta school board recently gave the OK for a pause on the planned central office construction and timeline but said the grammar school project, as well as other major capital projects underway, will not be delayed.

District officials say the COVID-19 closures and resulting drops in tax revenue led them to delay the central office construction to allow reallocation of district funds to other projects as needed.

Tuesday's agenda is the first time the public is seeing the cost of the grammar school renovations, which according to the agenda item will include replacement of all doors and windows; and installation of new plumbing and electrical systems; fire sprinkler and alarm systems; technology infrastructure; access control and security systems; new asphalt, sidewalk, fencing and landscaping. 

The newly renovated school building will be used by the Performance Learning Center and Marietta Alternative Programs and Services. The renovations are expected to begin next month and conclude by January 2021, according to the agenda.

The school board approved a builder for the central office in September, and the district's original expectation was for the project to be complete by August 2021. 

Spending resolution

According to state law, school districts are required to adopt a budget by July 1 each year, but due to a COVID-19-related delay in the General Assembly's legislative session this year, the Legislature has not yet met to approve a statewide budget.

District officials say that delay means public schools don't yet know what money they'll be getting from the state, especially as deep budget cuts for agencies statewide loom.

"The Georgia Department of Education allows a school district to adopt a spending resolution until a district's formal budget is adopted," the school board's agenda says.

According to the agenda item, the resolution must not exceed a month's worth of the prior year's budget. Approval of the proposed spending resolution will carry Marietta schools through July. 

One month's expenditures is around $9 million, based on the fiscal 2020 budget, according to Erin Franklin, the district's chief financial officer.

"We anticipate the State Legislature to approve (a fiscal year 2021) State budget in June which will allow us to present our FY21 budgets to the Board in July and schedule public meetings prior to formal approval," the agenda says.

In other business, the board is expected to discuss:

  • Proposed revisions to policies regarding attendance and school visitors;
  • A $1.8 million contract with American Facility Services for custodial services from July 1 to June 30, 2021;
  • A $26,200 contract with Stevens Gymnasiums, Inc. for the resurfacing of gym floors at Marietta High School, Marietta Middle School, Marietta Sixth Grade Academy and Lockheed, Sawyer Road, Hickory Hills, Burruss and West Side elementary schools;
  • The $60,901 purchase of technology infrastructure for the new Park Street Elementary School scheduled to open in the fall;
  • The $16,297.50 purchase of furniture for the new Park Street Elementary School;
  • The $118,499 purchase of an 84-passenger bus;
  • A $1.7 million contract with Gordon Foods for food supply and delivery. The contract includes participation with the Cobb School District and lasts from July 1 to June 30, 2021.

To tune into the online work session meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, visit bit.ly/3eXsipI with password 382413.

Follow Thomas Hartwell on Twitter at twitter.com/MDJThomas.

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