Valdosta Daily Times

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June 27, 2013

Lowndes school board reviews budget, more

VALDOSTA — The Lowndes County Board of Education held a called meeting Wednesday afternoon to make final decisions on allowing students to carry cell phones to county schools, the budget for 2013-2014, and policies regarding promotion and retention, compulsory attendance and the student code of conduct.

The budget for 2013-2014 was passed with no discussion. The fiscal budget for 2013-2014 puts total estimated revenues at $94,531,075. The estimated expenditures are $97,955,312. This means that the board will be $3,424,237 over, which will be covered by the remaining 2013 fund balance, which is $5,653,538. This puts the estimated remaining fund balance for 2014 at $2,229,301.

The board approved the policies for promotion and retention and compulsory school attendance with no discussion. The policies for promotion and retention have changed to include new promotion requirement for sixth  through eighth and ninth through twelfth graders. Changes were made to the Compulsory School Attendance policy in regards to wording within the document.

The main item of discussion during the called meeting were changes regarding the Student Code of Conduct. Discussion focused on the system’s academic dishonesty policy. Some school board members felt that previously presented changes might lower the punishment for academic dishonesty. Lowndes High School Principal Jay Floyd said he actually sees the policy as raising the punishment. The old rule allowed for discretion in the classroom, and the board wanted to make sure that the policy had no options to serve as a deterrent.  

There were also four changes made regarding the Code of Conduct.

The first change was the addition of this statement added before Rule 1: “Students who commit criminal law violations off campus and, in the opinion of the administration, would pose a threat to the safety of the school if they returned will be either assigned to alternative school or suspended pending referral to a tribunal or the Board of Education for expulsion.”

The second change was the addition of this statement to Rule 32-L: “Rule 32-L is limited to use by K-5 administrators. For violations of more than a minor nature use Rule 32 and all violations in grades 6-12 use Rule 32.”

The final two changes were added to Rule 34 and Rule 103:

“Realizing the role cell phones and electronic devices have come to play in everyday life, possession of these devices by a student on campus is acceptable within the guidelines as set forth by the Lowndes County School System. Knowing the disruptive factor that cell phones and other electronic devices can be in an instruction setting if not properly maintained, the following guidelines are provided:

“A student may possess a cell phone or other electronic device on school property or during school activities as long as the device is out of sight and turned off. The student is prohibited from using the device during the instructional day, especially during the administration of tests. The instructional day, for the purpose of this rule, is defined as: from the time the student enters the building at the beginning of the school day until school dismissal when the student exits the school building at the end of the day. The privilege may be revoked for violations of this rule.

“Possession of an electronic device is a privilege which will be revoked upon placement in the Lowndes Alternative Program. The Lowndes County School System is not responsible for theft, loss, or damage to electronic devices brought onto its property.”

Nutrition bid winners were: Reinhart (groceries), Dairy Fresh (milk and juice), Catko and Preferred Packaging/Ekon-O-Pac (paper supplies) and Farmer Brown (commercially purchased produce). Reinhart’s winning bid was $1,841,533.30. Dairy Fresh’s winning bid was $389,952.79. The winning bid for Catko and Preferred Packaging was $161,730.08 and Ekon-O-Pac was $34,376.30. Farmer Brown’s winning bid was $7,869.

 All items discussed during the called meeting were approved by the board.

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