Board Okays Bond Sale

The Jeff Davis County Board of Education Monday night approved three bond resolutions to allow the school system to proceed with improvements approved by voters in the most recent Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (E-SPLOST) referendum.
Bond Attorneys Jon Pannell and Bill Kemp discussed the bond sales with the board. Kemp explained the particulars of the bond sales which were conducted last week. He said that when necessary paperwork is completed, $2,507,000 will be wired to the school system’s bank account on Dec. 27. That would allow the system to get started with the system-wide improvements quickly rather than waiting until E-SPLOST proceeds matched that amount.
Kemp explained that the bond sale was enhanced by the fact that people were becoming nervous about the economy and were choosing to invest in safely guaranteed municipal bonds rather than high-risk investments. He added that the school system’s A-plus rating also helped the sales, saying that board members should be proud of the rating as a lot of school systems in the state are not A-plus rated.
Kemp said the debt service on the bonds would be $1.3 million per year while the E-SPLOST historically brings in $1.7 million a year, easily covering the debt service.
After Kemp answered questions from Board member George Gainer to explain the fees associated with the bond sale, the board voted unanimously to approve the three resolutions.
FFA Advisers Cody Herndon and Todd Claxton addressed the board about needs in the agriculture department at the high and middle schools, specifically the need for a new livestock trailer and a heavy duty truck to haul livestock to shows.
Herndon explained that students have 27 head of cows and 25-30 pig projects that are shown in shows around the state and Claxton and Herndon use their personal vehicles to pull the school-owned livestock trailers to shows. While parents transferred some livestock in their own trailers, the school trailer was sometimes loaded with 10 or 12 cows, putting a lot of wear and tear on their private vehicles.
Claxton said that when he was previously employed in Cook County schools, the system owned a 3/4 ton truck for such purposes and the vehicle was used by other programs as needed.
The two further explained that the current livestock trailer was purchased in 1999 and they have been spending a lot of money repairing the trailer which is in poor condition. They said they either need to tear everything out of the trailer and replace with new parts, or purchase a new trailer.
Also of concern to the two was the fact that the school system receives federal funds to cover travel expenses for CTAE programs and their allotments are normally spent prior to the Christmas break. For the remainder of the year, they and other CTAE instructors must pay their expenses out of their own pockets. Those funds are also used to pay student and chaperone expenses.
The ag department needs consumed the greatest amount of time at Monday’s meeting, and the long discussion among board members indicated that most board members were in favor of purchasing a new truck and trailer, and explore ways to address the travel expense issues. No decision was made but the board asked Claxton, who had given board members the cost from Woody Folsom Motors for a 3/4 ton gas pickup, to also get prices on a 3/4 ton diesel, a 1-ton gas, 1-ton diesel, and gas and diesel duallys.
In other action, the board ….
…. presented certificates to Jeff Davis Pre-K students who had the highest academic grades during first semester.
…. recognized Cheryl Lovett with the Extra Mile Award and Chris Raulerson with the Wow Award for their good work in the school system.
…. set the time, place and date of 2019 board meetings to the second Monday of each month at 6 p.m. at the board office, with the exception of the April and July meetings which would be moved to the third Monday because the second Monday would immediately follow school breaks.
…. heard from Superintendent Dr. Stan Rentz who said he received a call from former Superintendent Dr. Rob Brown who now heads the Lumpkin County School System. Brown told him that the JDHS wrestling team participated in a meet in Lumpkin County over the weekend and he said he was proud of the way the team members conducted themselves during their visit as they represented the community well. The Yellow Jackets finished second in the tournament which was won by Walnut Grove by three points over JDHS. Lumpkin County finished fourth.
…. approved an update to policy GARH Employee Leaves and Absences.
…. approved a bus driver instructor job description.
…. okayed a request by the Georgia Department of Education Culinary Rooted in Georgia Training for school nutrition managers, to use the Jeff Davis High School Kitchen Labs for a February training session.

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