Sumter school board makes its quorum

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, July 12, 2017

By Beth Alston

AMERICUS — Four members of the Sumter County Board of Education made a quorum at Monday’s monthly work session. Board chair, Mike Busman met with members Meda Krenson, Edith Green and Sylvia Roland, along with Superintendent Torrance Choates and others from the Central Office. Board members Alice Green, Jim Reid and Rick Barnes were absent.
Bill Sampson of the Georgia School Board Association, addressed the board about standards, strategic planning, the need for communications and community relations, and a board assessment. Sampson stated that there are certain mandates by the GSBA that the local board must include in its policies.
The board discussed the agenda for Thursday’s regular monthly meeting.
From the curriculum committee, Sylvia Roland reported that the committee recommends board approval of a grades 6-8 math curriculum with consumables and professional development, at a cost of $68,000. Superintendent Choates commented that between $12,000 and $13,000 will come out of the General Fund.
Board member Meda Krenson gave the financial report in the absence of Jim Reid. She said the board has to make a decision about the millage rate rollback calculation. They can either roll back the millage rate (from 18.253 to 18.224) or keep it the same. She said the finance committee recommends the first option, lowering the millage rate, “because it makes us look like we’re good stewards of taxpayers’ money … ” She said the reason for the change is the property reassessment in Sumter County has changed. Choates explained that with option one, lowering the millage rate, the system will lose $76,258 in tax revenues and with option two, the system would love $96,215.
“The public would approve us lowering the millage rate,” said Krenson. The board will decide Thursday.
Also discussed from the finance committee were stipends for teacher attendance. The superintendent reported that hiring substitute teachers cost the school system approximately $367,000 for the 2016-17 school year, which came from the General Fund. The stipends, if approved by the board, would offer certified personnel rewards starting with $300 for perfect attendance.
Another matter to come before the board Thursday are stipends for Worker’s Comp for individual schools and departments.
The board will also vote on a roster of personnel items.