MCHS Principal Stephanie Meador spoke to the School Board
“Her grandmother has contacted me about the possibility of Samantha receiving an honorary diploma. The State has nothing that they will send nor will they recognize, but the State did contact Shawn, Mr. Carter, to let him know that the local board of education could agree to award a deceased student an honorary diploma. And I don't know what the process is other than, that's all I know, is that the local board of education does have the power to do that if they see fit to do that,” she said. “So, I'm asking you to consider that. She would have graduated as an honor student and everything if she would have lived to see graduation.”
Director of Schools Dan Hampton said he had looked into the matter as well.
“I was involved in the e-mails as they went around,” said Hampton. “I made a couple of phone calls and actually talked to Commissioner Greene about it, and he said it was solely up to us. If we wanted to do it, it was very acceptable. A lot of districts do it. It's no problem. Very rarely does he ever see anybody turn it down.”
A date will be determined on which the diploma will be presented to Baxter's mother, Johanna Crowder.
“I met with the budget committee on last Tuesday,” said Hampton, who indicated that the county was in poor financial shape after having to spend so much money on road repairs after the flooding.
“I think their fund balance is pretty low right now. I think they talked in terms of theirs is going to be, when they close out the year, theirs is going to be under $300,000.
“They were pretty adamant that 9.623 was the best that they could do, and I told them that we would consider that but only under two conditions, and I told them what the two conditions would be.
“First of all, they have to guarantee that our growth money will come to us this year, and the way that works is, once they’ve met the tax rate, once they’ve met the amount that they’ve set aside, that they’ve budgeted on, any money they’ve collected over that gets divided up among the departments. And we’re entitled to our share. We haven’t gotten that since 2006. They were fine with that. They said that was fair. A couple of commissioners pointed out that that was what we needed to do.”
The second contingency to Hampton’s agreement was that the school board be allowed to bring a building project before the county.
“They asked me what I thought we needed to have, and I told them that we understood the economy and that we’d gotten past maybe a new school right now.”
Hampton said that he told commissioners that some main goals were to add classrooms onto some schools and repair the roofs at Westside Elementary and Lafayette Elemenatary Schools. They also hope to make an addition to the auditorium at RBSHS so that they can host tournaments.
This year, however, the board had to remove two busses they had planned to purchase from the budget to cover the teachers’ insurance.
“One of the things that Mr. Wilmore had stated earlier was that, when we put in for the raise, we were trying to do something nice for our teachers and make sure our teachers understood that we were trying to support them. I think that by us doing this, I think this really shows we are willing to support them if we have to cut these two busses and cut some diesel fuel to be able to do this to balance the budget for the county and help them get through a tough time.”
The board passed a resolution to have Modular Technologies draw up plans for portable classrooms for Fairlane Elementary, Macon County High School, and Red Boiling Springs High School. Modular Technologies placed the lowest bid at $54,639 for each two-room portable. They estimate the classrooms will be ready in about six weeks. The second lowest bid came from Spectrum Building Systems with a bid of $55,638.
The board did not grant approval for purchase because the budget for last year has been closed, and purchases made under the new budget cannot be made until July. The board plans to approve the purchase of the portable classrooms at a meeting on July 6.
Chairman Steve Walton suggested adding a penalty to the purchase order for any delays from the manufacturer on receiving the classrooms because of some difficulties the board had had with another company in the past.
“It doesn't even have to be a huge dollar amount,” he said. “Just a hundred dollars a day. Just something to get their attention and show them that we're serious that we really need it.”
Maintenance Supervisor Randy Robinson said that he could do that if that was what the board wanted.
The board also made a motion later in the meeting to get a fourth portable classroom to house the alternative school so that the rooms it currently occupies at the football stadium can be used as dressing rooms.
RBS Baseball Field
The baseball field at Red Boiling Springs suffered some damage after the flooding in May.
“Randy and I went to the FEMA meeting when they discussed the damages, and we had talked about what it would cost from our end to fix it. Of course, we’re not sure, and, at that point, somebody spoke up and said that they thought FEMA was going to cover that as part of the damages since we didn’t have it insured because of that mix-up where nobody knew who it belonged to,” said Hampton. “They talked to us in terms of that FEMA was going to fix it.”
Hampton and Robinson estimate it will cost approximately $15,000-$20,000 to repair the fence at the baseball field.
“Is that the main part of it is just the fence?” asked Walton.
“They had a lot of damage, and the parents have done a lot,” said Hampton. “They’ve done a great job in terms of getting the field ready because, when the flood came, it washed all of the pea gravel from the parking lot and into the middle of the infield. I mean, it was a half inch thick out there. So, they actually had to go back out there, and, I mean, they’re still picking up rocks out there and will be probably for the next year or so. Probably, what it’s going to need, if we do it right, is we probably need to go over the top and dress it. Go over and put another load of dirt on top of it and try to bury all that little gravel that’s underneath there.
“Supposedly, they were supposed to hear something by the July County Commission meeting. I was trying to wait until the County Commission met to see where we’re going.
“We may end up having to pay part of it and then get the FEMA money to help,” said Walton.
Hampton agreed, but said that the County Commission felt that the funds would come quickly since the flooding was so widespread and so many counties were involved.