Valdosta Daily Times

February 11, 2014

Board discusses charter school

The Valdosta Daily Times

Kristin Finney — Lowndes County Board of Education discussed a charter school’s interest in the area Monday evening.

During the school board’s regular meeting, the Lowndes school board also discussed a letter of intent it received to open the Scintilla Charter Academy. While the board has not had a conversation yet with Scintilla other than the letter, if Scintilla files a petition to bring the school to Lowndes County, the board says that it will comply with the guidelines set by the Georgia Department of Education.

The vision for Scintilla “is to guide locally underserved and underperforming students in reaching their educational potential and becoming contributing citizens and to serve as an incubator for education innovation and excellence through involvement with the students’ families, local community and business organizations, area institutions of higher education, and local public school district personnel,” according to the letter.

The letter also states that Scintilla proposes to open for the 2015-2016 school year and serve kindergarten through third grade, added one grade per year through fifth grade.

School officials recognized Dekoven Montorieo Walls for receiving his high school diploma from Lowndes High School. Prior to his entrance, Lowndes School Superintendent Wes Taylor spoke of the graduate program that has allowed 60 students who would not otherwise have been publicly recognized for their achievement, to receive their high school diplomas in front of the board.

“Everyone doesn’t move at the same pace or finish at the same time, but we are proud to recognize another graduation candidate tonight who met the requirements to receive his diploma,” said Taylor.

LHS Principal Jay Floyd presented the diploma to Walls.

“We are very proud of you more than anything,” said Floyd.

The next recognition for the evening was the presentation of the GREAT award to Ivy Smith, Pine Grove Middle School assistant principal. The GREAT award focuses on gratitude, responsibility, enthusiasm, attitude and teamwork. Smith was nominated by nine individuals to receive the award.

One of her nominations read, “It is hard to have a bad day with an administrator like Mrs. Smith.”

Smith, who was surprised to receive the award, said, “I believe that Pine Grove is the best school in this system. This award isn’t for me, it’s for Pine Grove.”

To which someone in the crowd responded, “That’s just what a great assistant principal would say.”

The final recognition of the evening went to Hunter Fletcher and Laura Wilson, who were named Mr. and Ms. CTE for their hard work and dedication to the Career and Technical Education program. Both Fletcher and Wilson have taken part in multiple career pathways and feel that the skills they have learned in CTE will help them in their future careers.

The board reviewed the finance report for January. The board had approved total revenues at $69,423,599. The amended budget came up as $69,376,488, just over $47,000 less than originally approved.

During January, the board also adjusted the expenditures from $72,946,887 to $70,630,108, a decrease of almost $2.3 million.

The board also reviewed the athletic fund from January, which shows that approximately 92.4 percent of the total revenue for the year has been met, while 71.6 percent of the expenditures have been made.

The final financial item passed around by the board was the SPLOST budget for January. The total SPLOST amount for January 2014 was $1,129,238.81. This is a reduction of over $40,000 from last year.

The next item discussed by the board was the 2014-2015 instructional year calendar. The board was pleased to announce it has approved the calendar for 2014-2015 with no furlough days, pending the legislature approving the governor’s budget. The budget has already been passed by the House, but is awaiting approval from the Senate, and the board feels that this will pass and Lowndes will be able to get its students and staff back to a full calendar year.

Taylor said, “We are thankful to our staff for being diligent in reducing costs as well as the effort of our finance department and our local delegation realizing the importance of our school board being able to restore our employees’ contracts by eliminating furlough days from our calendar.”

Another change to the Lowndes calendar is that the 2014-2015 calendar has been consolidated with the Valdosta City Schools system, pending the city schools’ approval of its calendar. This will allow for winter break, Christmas break, spring break and the first day of school to happen at the same time for both systems.

“While it may be hard for some to believe, we really do have a good relationship with the city school system. The school calendar is just another example of the cooperation between our school systems and we are proud of that,” said Fred Wetherington, District 2 school board representative and board chairman.

The final announcement for the evening came from Wetherington who announced that he would not be running for reelection in the coming year.