Elkins nixed for new school: BOE gives FY 2015-16 budget initial nod

A rendering of the front of the new Valdosta High School.

Altman + Barrett Architects

VALDOSTA — The construction company tapped to build a new Valdosta High School has been fired before the first brick was laid.

A letter terminating the construction manager agreement with Elkins Constructors — ending Elkins role as construction manager for the new VHS construction project — was approved by the board of education Monday.

In conjunction, the board also authorized the project architects, Altman + Barrett Architects, along with Interim Superintendent Alvin Hudson and Finance Director Bob Jones, to negotiate with JCI Contractors and Parrish Construction to take over the construction manager role.

The first reading of the tentative budget for fiscal year 2015-16 was unanimously approved by the Valdosta Board of Education at its meeting Monday night.

The $107.4 million budget includes $21.7 million in “Facilities Acquisition & Construction,” to be used for the construction of the new Valdosta High School.

“This is the best budget I've seen in a long, long time,” said board member and finance committee member Warren Lee.

Lee pointed to the lack of teacher furlough days, 180 days of student instruction and a restoration of funds to teacher's retirements as highlights of the budget.

Projected revenues for FY 2015-16 are $168.1 million, including $73 million in projected bond sales and $13 million in state reimbursement for construction costs on the new high school.

The official FY 2015-16 budget will be voted on at the June meeting of the VBOE.

The board discussed security infrastructure work for J.L. Newbern Middle School and the VBOE central office.

A lengthy discussion about student transfer requests ended with the board voting to allow three transfers approved by former Superintendent Martin “Marty” Roesch to go through.

Board members discussed operating as an Investing in Education Excellence (IE2) School System, one of three options given by the Georgia Board of Education.

The board has to notify the GBOE of its decision by the end of June.

The board approved a list of scheduled board meetings for FY 2015-16.

Whereas regular VBOE meetings have been held the second Monday of the month in recent years, FY 2015-16 will move the monthly meeting to the second Tuesday of each month, still at 7 p.m. at the Superintendent's Office at 1204 Williams St.

After adjourning for executive session to discuss personnel matters, the board came back and, without naming who exactly was being hired, voted to approve the hires.

On Tuesday, the names of those hired were released on the VBOE website.

They include:

• Paraprofessionals Shupora McCrae, Courtni O'Neal, Telisha Graham, Chad Prain and Cali Swift.

• Teachers Claire Brink, Jawanna McBurrough, Karlee Norton, Brianna Henderson, Sandra Thomas, Hillary Vinson, Dinah Mayne, Tina Clark, Ashley Burns, Lauren Allen, Kenzi Reed, Allison Shelton and Carolyn Brown.

Hudson asked the board's blessing in modifying summer work hours for the month of June, allowing principals to work Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. and taking off Friday for the month.

The board approved the VHS Academic Team's trip to Chicago at the end of May.

The board also recognized STAR Student Eileen Chen and STAR Teacher Holly Stone.

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