Before the current school year comes to a close, the Hall County Schools Board of Education is already considering issues that will impact upcoming years.
During the board’s regular meeting Monday evening, the group approved a letter of intent from Flowery Branch High School administrators, who are considering seeking charter school status for theschool. With the board’s approval, school administrators will explore the possibility of Flowery Branch High becoming a leadership academy.
If the school decides to further pursue charter status, no changes would be made before the 2012 school year.
In accordance with federal requirements, the school board also approved measures that will increase the cost of school lunch by 5 cents. Beginning this fall, the cost to elementary school students for lunch will increase from $1.40 to $1.45. The cost for lunch at the middle and high school levels will increase from $1.50 per meal to $1.55.
The school board also voted to accept a number of personnel recommendations, including 55 suggested staff appointments, 16 resignations and four transfers.
“This is the meeting that we have every year to recommend central office level personnel,” said Will Schofield, Hall County Schools superintendent.
Although terminations were not included during Monday’s vote, they may be on the horizon. Schofield warned the board that around 140 paraprofessional positions were funded this year with stimulus funds. Since that money is no longer available, the board will have to seriously consider how to cover certain personnel costs during upcoming budget discussions.
State law gives schools systems until May 15 to offer educator contracts for the upcoming school year.
According to Schofield, staff will have a better idea about how many educators will be offered a position for the 2011-2012 school year by the board’s work session on May 9. During that meeting, the school board will also begin budget discussions for the 2012 fiscal year.
In other business, the board approved purchasing 20 LP, or low propane, school buses at a state-contracted price of $88,898 per vehicle.
“We haven’t bought new buses in two years,” said Jewel Armour, school system executive director of operations. "These buses run cleaner, run quieter and have more power.”
The money from the buses won’t come from the system’s general fund. Instead the purchase will be a portion of the system’s special purpose local option sales tax allotment.