Hall County School Board members took some large steps at their meeting Monday night.
The board voted to renew Superintendent Will Schofield’s contract until June 30, 2014. The contract will not have any different terms but will simply be extended to three years, which is the amount allowed by law.
“It’s encouraging to not only see the accomplishments, the schools of various degrees of choice, to see not only how much we appreciate you but your standing in the state ... (Everyone) across the board give you the high marks that they do and we’re very proud of that,” board member Brian Sloan said.
“I’m extremely pleased that God willing, I’ll spend at least the next three years in the Hall County school district. It’s a special place and the best is yet to come,” Schofield said.
The board also approved the Special Local Option Sales Tax IV proposal for a $1.7 million heating, ventilation and air conditioning technology overhaul.
Phase I of the HVAC plan will save the system $475,000 a year in energy costs, said Damon Gibbs, Hall County Schools SPLOST coordinator.
There are three components to the upgrades — direct digital control, load shedding and occupancy censors.
Direct digital control allows maintenance workers to control lighting and air conditioning from anywhere there is Internet access.
“We will be able to troubleshoot and not send a technician out for every whim,” Gibbs told board members. “Each school has what they call a front end. It’s a computer in the school itself. The good thing about the new technology is we can access it from anywhere because it’s Internet-based.”
Load shedding allows technicians to increase the temperature of unoccupied areas to keep power bills down. Occupancy sensors will help aid that process. If a sensor doesn’t detect movement in a classroom or school area, it will turn off the lights and increase the temperature.
“Now, some of our schools we can go in and schedule (HVAC and lighting). We have to schedule it in zones, which may turn on in half a school,” Gibbs said. “If they only need one classroom, we can get that narrow in our focus.”
Gibbs also presented board members with a proposed compromise to repairing the driveway at Sardis Enrichment School.
“(Hall County Public Works Director) Ken Rearden contacted me this week. The county is asking us to deed them the property, the road with a 50-foot barrier. They’re going to name it Bobcat Trail or something to go along with the school mascot,” Gibbs said. “At that point the county will maintain that as a county road, so the repairs we desperately need will be taken care of.”
The board voted at its July 18 meeting to turn down the county’s proposal to split the repair bill. At that point the idea was for the school board to patch the driveway and try to get through another year. The county, which already owns the road, voted July 14 to cover the cost of labor to repair the driveway if the school board could foot the bill for the materials.
Monday, the board decided that pending results from today’s survey of the Sardis driveway area, it will deed the property to Hall County.
“The natural solution was to deed them the property that road sits on,” Schofield said. “I think it’s a great solution. It makes a lot of sense.”
Schofield said the county should act on the approval at its Thursday meeting.