Diane Peltz – Contributing Writer
The Macon County School Board met for its regular monthly meeting on Monday, July 25, with a fairly light agenda. Aside from several requests for field trips and yearly fundraising events, capital outlay priorities were discussed.
The sum of $550,000 was set aside in the budget for building and ground repairs for all district schools. The school board made new fencing a priority for Union Academy, Highlands School, South Macon Elementary and Franklin High School (FHS) with a total cost of $100,000. East Franklin is in need of enclosed spacing and flooring, which would run about $10,000. East Franklin Elementary needs a natural gas burner totaling $26,500. Mountain View Intermediate School’s (MVI) parking lot needs repairs, totaling $20,000. The basketball court at Macon Middle School (MMS) requires $10,000 in repairs. Highland School (HS) requested funds for new HVAC system controls, costing $27,000. The rooftop at Nantahala School is in need of repair, which will cost $30,000. South Macon requested a sound system, which would be part of their security upgrade for $12,200. MMS, MVI, HS, and IVE each requested a compact floor scrubber to be used daily, costing $52,000. MVI is in need of new ovens costing $20,000, as the repair cost to the existing ovens would not be feasible. Security cameras at Iotla Valley Elementary (IVE) and the bus garage would cost $50,000. Cartoogechaye Elementary (CAE) is in need of a new school intercom system totaling $45,000. Door swipes at East Franklin and Iotla Valley at a cost of $20,000, will enhance security on those campuses. A skid steer which can be used where needed would cost $55,000. All schools in the district will be allotted $100,000 to divide among each school for needed furniture. The requests pushed the total needed to $577,700 which is $27,000 over budget.
Superintendent Dr. Chris Baldwin explained that, if needed, he could take the overage out of the furniture budget to meet the original $550,000 cap. He also stated that some of the requests might come in under budget possibly alleviating the need to tap into the furniture budget.
Business and Finance
A discussion regarding substitute teacher pay resulted in the board voting to raise the current $100 per day for non-certified substitute teachers to $125 daily and certified teachers will be raised from $125 to $150. Personnel Director Todd Gibbs explained that it is often difficult to locate substitute teachers, especially during holidays such as spring break, when they tend to take their vacations, raising the pay rate might incentivize folks to sign on as subs. The board also felt that they would not be in need of as many subs as they did during the height of the pandemic.
The Internal Revenue Service Mileage rate was increased to 62.5 cents a mile from 58.5 cents, as per the new state budget order.
Public School Capital Fund
Dr. Baldwin also noted that the Capital Funds that were previously requested from the State, will have another go round, where he said he hopes to receive the full $50 million which had been requested by Macon Schools last year. Baldwin said he feels optimistic since Clay County received its full allotment request.
The next board meeting will be held on Aug. 22, a week before students return to school on Monday, Aug. 29.