Sumter County Board of Education approves 2 percent pay increases

Published 8:30 am Monday, June 19, 2017

By Beth Alston

AMERICUS — The Sumter County Board of Education met Thursday night for its regular monthly meeting. Chairman, Dr. Michael Busman was absent, and co-chair, Rick Barnes presided.
The biggest actions to come out of the meeting regarded a pay increase for employees. The board voted to use the State Salary Schedule for all certified employees of the system and to give them a 2 percent raise as well. The board also voted to give School Food Nutrition employees a 2 percent raise as well as to provide incentives.
Most of the agenda items approved were adopted unanimously without discussion, until it came to a policy on promotion and retention. Alice Green, policy committee chair, recommended rescinding the old policy, waiving the 30-day tabling, and adopting the new policy. The first two were approved. but the third hit a snag with board member Jim Reid.
Reid objected to the language regarding the promotion of fifth-graders to the sixth grade with the requirement of having developing learner (not on grade level after taking the Georgia Milestones Test) in math as a prerequisite. He commented that this policy is “just pushing that problem to the next school and affecting their test scores.” Superintendent Torrance Choates said that “developing learner” is not the lowest on the scale. Board member Edith Green explained that this policy is mandated by the state Department of Education and is not new, that policies are often updated. The board ultimately unanimously approved the policy.
The board went into a 35-minute closed meeting to discuss personnel. After coming back into open session, they approved the following personnel.
Resignations: Tiffany Robinson, Daren Thomas, Michael Coley Jr., Earthera Sanders, Alnita Dowdell, Maria Colin, William Bell, Ti-Sha Acres, Shakiyla Radney, Leah Henderson Lyons, Morgan Brown, Jonathon Hunter Davis, Rebecca Albrecht, Kimberly Battle, Dana Daniel, Kelvin Pines, Jason Reese, Chiquita Hightower, Tom DeTitta and Sharron Marcus
Rescindment of job offer: Juli Grantham
Transfers: Niashsache Perry, Coleman Price and Pamela Fields-Sanders
Family Medical Leaves: Marjorie Moore, Melanie Aldridge and Demetrius Bridges
Employments: Andrew Herring, Darrin Jones, Dina McCorkle, Milton Reese, Cami Phillips, Brandon Washington, Kabais Trice, Brianna Cunningham, Kimberly Bacon-Davis, Jessica Thompson and Anthony Clark
Title change: Cheryl Fletcher.
A few new employees were recognized and asked by the superintendent to introduce themselves.
Brandi Cunningham, special education and middle grades education, said she is returning to the school system after obtaining a specialist degree, and will be teaching at Sumter County Intermediate School. Anthony Clark introduced himself as the new assistant principal at the Ninth Grade Academy and said he is bringing his own children to attend Sumter County Schools.

In other business, the board took the following action Thursday.
• Approved the financial report, accounts payable for May 2017, and the preliminary cash flow report.
• Approved payment of $5,504 for Georgia School Board Association (GSBA) membership dues.
• Approved payment of $2,250 for the GSBA Annual Policy Maintenance Service.
• Approved payment of $3,800 for the GSBA e-Board software renewal.
• Approved a purchasing policy which allows the superintendent to make purchases of up to $10,000 for the system without board approval.
• Approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Southwest Georgia Community Action Council’s Development Program and the Sumter County Board of Education.
• Approved a MOU between the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, for and on behalf of Albany State University, and Sumter County Schools for field and clinical experiences.
It was announced that a budget hearing is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. June 26 and special meeting called for 6 p.m. June 26 to adopt the final budget. Both will be held at the Central Office and are open to the public.