The upcoming Spring intersession has been approved by the Macon County Board of Education, contingent on Superintendent Dr. Dan Brigman presenting board members with a revised plan for the week by next Thursday.
After heavy community concern surrounding the cost efficiency of the week-long educational enrichment attempt, board members requested a detailed cost analysis of the Fall intersession during December’s board meeting.
The Fall intersession, held in mid-October and originally anticipated to be offered to all students districtwide, was one of two weeks designated during the school year with the intention of providing enrichment activities and further promote opportunities to increase test performance. The week was only attended by about 400 students on any given day, which amounted to about 10 percent of the entire district’s student population.
Principals were given the ultimate decision on designing a plan for the intersession at each school. Although the original intent was to offer the intersession to any student willing to attend, several schools throughout the district only offered the intersession to specific grades or targeted classrooms due to a shortage of teachers willing to participate in the week.
In December, board member Jim Breedlove raised concerns about the school systems ability to sustain the intersession in the Spring, due to costs. He requested that the schools attorney, John Henning Jr., look into the legal obligation in holding the second intersession. Henning Jr. informed the board at Monday nights meeting that because of the special calendar waiver request made by Dr. Brigman on behalf of the school system, the district is required to hold some form of the intersession in March, but that the structure of the week’s activities is ultimately up to the board.
Dr. Brigman proposed that a hybrid version of the intersession be offered to targeted students who would benefit most from the week. Students in need of an opportunity to make up class time for absences, or need the remediation services to boost their grades, will be encouraged to utilize the Spring intersession.
Dr. Brigman instructed the principals at each school to focus on the students in need of remediation services and to construct a concise plan for the Spring intersession. Depending on the plans and anticipated attendance projected by the principals, school consolidation, running less buses and other cost saving measures are being evaluated to ensure that much needed week of enrichment activities and remediation services will be as beneficial to all students in need as well as being as cost effective as possible.
During December’s meeting, Angie Cook, Macon County School’s finance director, informed the board that the estimated cost of the Fall intersession stands at $108,612.
According to Cook, during the week of intersession only, $60,800 was spent on teacher/assistant salaries; $14,890 on Child Nutrition salaries; $4,668 on the VIP after school program; $14,606 was spent on bus drivers salaries; $12,521 was the estimated fuel cost; and $1,127 was spent for supplies and materials.
Although the Fall intersession was beneficial for the students who attended, the poor attendance resulted in high cost. The board did not feel the results justified holding another intersession in the Spring, especially since the Spring intersession will take place during what is normally “Spring Break,” which a lot of families use to travel for vacation.
At the request of Breedlove and board member Gary Shields, Dr. Brigman assured the board that he and the principals would work together to develop a revised version for the upcoming intersession, which he assures will not cost more than $90,000.
According to Cook, the monies allocated in the budget for the Spring intersession will be split between “At Risk” and “Title 1” funds, with a little more than $50,000 and $38,500 designated from each pocket of money respectively. “The money allocated for the Spring intersession comes from funds generally designated for remediation services, and the Spring intersession will definitely offer those services,” said Cook. “There are still funds available in local, state and federal funds in the event that something unexpected may occur before the end of the year.”
Breedlove requested that Dr. Brigman have finalized plans for the Spring intersession ready at the board’s annual retreat, which is scheduled for February 2 and 3.
Members of the Board of Education opened Monday night's meeting by recognizing the outstanding achievements made by several students and faculty members thus far in the school year.
Dr. Brigman and board Chariman Tommy Cabe presented nine teachers with plaques and certificates to recognize their diligence and dedication to education by receiving their national board certification.
National Board Certification is a process offered by the National Board For Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). The process allows members of the faculty to be recognized for their teaching accomplishments within the classrooms. The certification process is based on high and rigorous a standards that are directed toward evaluating teaching practices through performance- based assessments; the ultimate result of teachers receiving the certification is to benefit and further student achievement through improved teacher performance.
First time National Board Certified:
Debbie Cloer - Mountain View School
Christine Murphy - Highlands School
Donna Kimsey - South Macon School
Jennifer Baldwin - East Franklin School
Rebecca McCall - Cartoogechaye School
National Board Certified Renewel:
James Bryan - Nantahala School
Clara Dills - South Macon Elementary School
Janelle Watson - East Franklin Elementary
Dina Picou - Franklin High School
For the first time in Macon County history, the Board of Education was able to recognize the Franklin High School football team for going undefeated in conference play. Dr. Brigman and Cabe presented Josh Brooks, the head varsity football coach, with a certificate of recognition for the accomplishment the football team received under his leadership. Dr. Brigman commended Coach Brooks and the all of the players for their hard work and success throughout the season.
The board also recognized the Franklin High School Marching Panther Regiment Band for their outstanding performance at the Gator Bowl competition last month. Dr. Brigman thanked Director Huckabee and the students for proudly representing Macon County during the national event and for bringing home the Division A Grand Championship, along with 13 additional trophies.
At the end of the meeting, the board went into closed session to discuss terms of the contract for the acquisition of the Old Cartoogechaye School site. Phil Drake won the highest bid for the property at $300,455.55, which the board voted to approve on a motion made by board member Stephanie McCall and seconded by Breedlove. McCall's motion also included the Board's permission to allow the board attorney, board chairman and Superintendent Dr. Brigman to sign all necessary documentation in order to finalize the sale process.