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School board splits votes on charter school requests

By BETH ALSTON
beth.alston@americustimesrecorder.com
www.americustimesrecorder.com

AMERICUS — The Sumter County Board of Education, in a split vote, approved a request from Furlow Charter School for a secure vestibule. This occurred at its regular monthly meeting of Sept. 10.
Board member Meda Krenson, property committee chair, said it was the committee’s recommendation to approve the request at a cost of $27,775 which will come from SPLOST revenues.
Board member Alice Green asked Superintendent Donnie Smith, “Have we spent anything else at Furlow Charter School since we did the (security) cameras and intercom?”
Smith said they had replaced an air conditioner in the gym at a partial unit in the same area.
Alice Green said, “I agree they need a secure vestibule but my concern is who is to purchase it. If we keep spending every time they have a request, where does that leave us? We have SPLOST already designated for projects. What will pay for it? I have reservations. I know we’re obligated but we have many need across the system.”
Dr. Michael Busman, board chair, commented that in the previous SPLOST they had designated projects and had $600,000 in excess.
“But we do need to be conscientious with money,” he added.
Voting to approve the request were Busman, Krenson and board members Sylvia Roland, Rick Barnes and Jim Reid. Voting against were Alice Green and board member Edith Green.
The board also voted, again in a split vote, to approve the facilities use lease agreement between Sumter County Schools and Furlow Charter School.
The superintendent said there had been no changes to the document since the work session. Krenson made the motion to approve the agreement which was seconded by Barnes. Voting for were Roland, Barnes, Busman and Krenson. Voting against were both Greens and Reid.
In other business, the board took the following action.
• Approved the financial reports for June, July and August and accounts payable for August.
• Approved the preliminary cash flow report. Jim Reid, finance committee chair, commented that legal fees were $353 so far this fiscal year, compared to $10,000 last year.
Rick Barnes asked if local vendors were used. Reid urged the board to make a concerted effort to buy from local vendors. Alice Green concurred, saying this is not a new conversation.
• Approved  a bid from GDP Technologies for a copier lease for $4,015 per month for four years.
• Approved two bids from Yancey Sales and Service for a regular school bus and a special ed school bus. The vendor gave the system “a special deal” that represents nearly $5,000 in savings. The system is also reimbursed by the state for a large portion of the cost.
• Approved the following resignations: Skyderria King, Kimberly Hudson, Priscilla King and Kevin Coley.
• Approved the following job offer rescindment: Lashonda Crenshaw.
• Approved the following transfers: Tammy Middleton, Ruby Wilson, Dale Carter and Christina Garry.
• Approved the following employments: Emily DeVane, Latoya Watts, Marilyn Waters and Porsha Ingram.
• Approved the following for Family Medical Leave: Chandra Fulton, Esther Simpson, Janetta Patterson, Lorine Frazier and William Wells.
After discussion, all were in agreement to bring in samples from architects for the new high school to the board which can be narrowed to three who will be invited to make presentations to the board.