STATE OF GEORGIA

 

 

COUNTY OF HENRY

 

 

 

The Henry County Board of Commissioners held a quarterly public meeting with the Henry County Board of Education at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 15, 2006, in Conference Room “B” of the Henry County Administration Building, 140 Henry Parkway, McDonough, Georgia.  Notice of this meeting was posted in the entrance foyer of the County Administration Building, and The Daily Herald was notified of this meeting.  Those present were:

 

            Henry County Board of Commissioners and Staff:

            Jason T. Harper, Chairman, presiding

            Gerry Adams, Vice-Chairman, District IV Commissioner

            Warren E. Holder, District I Commissioner

            Lee Holman, District V Commissioner

            (Elizabeth “B.J.” Mathis, District II Commissioner – Absent)

            (Randy Stamey, District III Commissioner – Absent)

 

            Rob Magnaghi, County Manager

            Patrick Jaugstetter, County Attorney

            Shay Mathis, County Clerk

            Terry McMickle, Public Works Division Director

            Michael Harris, Planning and Development Division Director

            Michael Sabine, Assistant to the County Manager

 

 

            Henry County Board of Education and Staff:

            Pam Nutt, Vice-Chairman, District I

            Brian Preston, District II

            Erik Charles, District IV

 

            Dr. Jack Parish, Superintendent

            Mr. Allen Guimarin, Facilities Manager

 

 

Chairman Harper called the joint meeting of the Board of Commissioners and Board of Education to order and asked for an approval of the Agenda.  Commissioner Holman made the motion to approve the Agenda; Commissioner Holder seconded.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Chairman Harper announced Commissioner Stamey, District III, could not attend the meeting, and he asked for everyone to keep Commissioner Mathis in their prayers for the lost of her mother, Mrs. Ruby Carruth, who was buried yesterday. 

 

 

 

                                                (Recessed for Dinner)

 

 

 

Chairman Harper reconvened into Public Session at 6:54 p.m.

 

Vice-Chairman Pam Nutt called the meeting to order on behalf of the Board of Education.

 

 

Update on Road Improvement Projects Associated With New Schools, Specifically Bethlehem Elementary and the Ola School.

 

Mr. Terry McMickle, Public Works Division Director, said New Hope and Hwy. 81, which is a SPLOST Project, is under construction and anticipated to be completed by the time school reopens this year.  He said the design at North Ola and Hwy. 81 has been completed and is out for bid on this project.  Mr. McMickle said the good news is the County has a temporary easement to access S.R. 81 with no permanent right-of-way.  He said hopefully that will go well, since the County will not have to purchase a right-of-way.  He stated this will be a major task to have this completed by the time school begins, and two completion dates were given to obtain the signalization as soon as possible. 

 

Mr. McMickle stated Mosley Drive is under construction, and he anticipates the completion date to be August of 2007.  He stated the last update is Bethlehem, and in past discussions, it was suggested to install a temporary bridge that would pass school buses.  He said this has been reviewed, and he has found a company that rents bridges. Mr. McMickle said another company would have to design the foundation, based on what span lengths would be installed, but he had not discovered the cost involved.  He stated staff will meet with an engineering company that will do groundwork for the County, and determinations will be made on the size of span lengths and what loads the County would have to pass.  He said as time goes along, he would have additional information. 

 

Commissioner Holder asked for the status on the paving of Lester Mill Road. 

 

Mr. McMickle said it is a SPLOST Project and they are acquiring the right-of-way now.  He said there is a 6 or 7 month construction time on the project, and they are anticipating starting in July or August. 

 

Commissioner Holder said for the County to receive the donated right-of-way across Bethlehem, where the golf course and the relocation of the road are located, the County had to either be complete or substantially complete before January, 2007, or the County would have to buy the right-of-way. 

 

Mr. McMickle agreed and said Killearn Properties was planning to give the County some money toward the road. He stated a section of that roadway is about to be abandoned to build the golf facility.  He said the County needs to make the agreement; however, Mr. McMickle was not concerned about them wanting the right-of-way back. 

 

Commissioner Holder said the contribution is the other side of the equation.

 

Dr. Parish asked regarding the signalization on North Ola and Hwy. 81, if there was a timeline on the North Ola improvement to Wilson Drive and the Snapping Shoals intersection. 

 

Mr. McMickle said there are two completion dates in the contract, where the County has given 3 or 4 months on the signal, and 7 or 8 months were given on the total contract.  He said by the time the bids return, and it goes before the Board, and then the Board awards it, it will take about two (2) weeks for bonding and insurance on the job.  Mr. McMickle said if there is enough right-of-way to start at that time, then the County would issue them a Notice to Proceed, which would start the clock on the 8 months.  He said they were able to facilitate a left turn lane into each of the schools. 

 

Dr. Parish asked about the road going to Walnut Creek Elementary School on Hwy. 42.

 

Mr. McMickle stated the developer is presently building his part up to the subdivision.  He said Mr. Jaugstetter, County Attorney, is working on an agreement between the County and the developer regarding that section. 

 

Dr. Parish said the Walnut Creek School is to open in August, 2007.

 

 

Increased Traffic Volume on East Lake Road at the Beginning of the School Year Due to the Temporary Housing of Timber Ridge Elementary Students on the East Lake Elementary Campus; Additional Assistance with Traffic.

 

Dr. Parish said Timber Ridge is now on track and is progressing much better than it has until this point.  He said there is a new contractor on site, and the completion date of the project is December, 2006.  He said they are temporarily housing the Timber Ridge students in two different locations.  Dr. Parish said 2/3rds of the students will be at East Lake Elementary School, and 1/3rd will be at Pleasant Grove Elementary School.  He stated this is the single most congested area they currently have in the County, because of the size of the three schools (Union Grove High, Union Grove Middle, and East Lake Elementary).  Dr. Parish said the County provides traffic control personnel at a lot of the school intersections and entry points.  He stated there will be two (2) separate entry points for that school; the East Lake students will go in at the regular car rider delivery point for that school, and the Timber Ridge students will go in at the bus loop end.  He said they will be mixing cars and buses on that end.  He stated the volume will not be as great, nor will the volume be as great on the East Lake side, because all of the children who were in East Lake are now in Timber Ridge and will be housed separately from them.  He asked for additional assistance in traffic control personnel, especially during the first month or two of school, and said it would be greatly appreciated.

 

Commissioner Adams asked when the Woodland Complex opened, would Dr. Parish consider routing all of the car traffic to Hemphill and Hwy. 138, and put the school bus traffic on Mosley.

 

Dr. Parish said school bus traffic can be controlled more easily than cars, and a request can be made for people to go in a particular direction.

 

Mr. Rob Magnaghi, County Manager, said the County could provide additional assistance in traffic control for the School System. 

 

 

Board of Education Fiscal Year 2007 Budget and the Continuing Funding Challenges.

 

Dr. Parish said the Board of Education did approve this FY-2007 budget at their meeting on Monday night, and he presented a brief overview of the work that went into developing the budget.  He presented a slide presentation, and pointed out the revenue projected for FY-2007 of $265,000,000 and the expenses of over $267,000,000, noting a comparison of FY-2006.  He stated there will be a $2,000,000 deficit present at the beginning of the coming school year.  Dr. Parish referenced the revenue and stated 56% of the revenue is coming from the State and 44% is local, noting they receive Federal dollars, but it is not enough to count for the most part. 

 

Referencing the Tax Digest History for 2006, Dr. Parish said they have projected an 8% increase, noting if it increases more than that, it will be beneficial to them.  He stated each percentage increase in the Tax Digest equates to approximately $1,000,000 for them at the 20 mills they anticipate levying to fund this budget.  He said presently they are at 19.4. 

 

Looking at the expenditures in the School System, Dr. Parish said 72% of the dollars is spent on instruction; he showed the percentage breakdown for Maintenance & Operation, School Administration, Student Transportation, etc., and he said Salaries and Benefits are 89% of the total budget.  He listed the significant challenges as austerity reductions, millage rate (capped at 20 mills), the continued growth (4 new schools), and the Governor’s class size reduction, which has created the hiring of sixty-eight (68) additional teachers not anticipated.  Dr. Parish said the 4% salary increase for teachers is good, and they deserve every penny they can get, but it cost the employers significantly more in benefits.  He said transportation funding gets worse each year in a system like Henry County, due to the fact reimbursement is only received from the State for transporting children who live 1-1/2 miles or farther away from a school.  Dr. Parish said even though Henry County is growing, and the fastest growing school district in the State, the transportation dollars are staying flat, if not being reduced some over time. 

 

Dr. Parish said in an educational environment, there are several pieces of technology operating, but the School System does not receive a single dime in State funding.  He said, “in the past, the lottery dollars were used some for technology, and that went away about three (3) years ago.  Also, the employers’ share of health insurance cost went up over 2%, and to us, that is about $4-1/2 million dollars in addition. It is becoming more and more difficult and challenging for us to fund education in Henry County.”

 

Commissioner Holder referenced the 4% increase in salaries and asked Dr. Parish if the Board of Education matched the local supplement with an increase.

 

Dr. Parish answered, “no;” he said the local supplement has stayed the same for several years.

 

Commissioner Holder said if parents would use the bus system, it would solve so much of the congestion problems around all of the schools, but that is not going to happen. 

 

 

Projected Student Population for the 2006-07 School Year, New Schools Opening Next Year, and the Approximate Number of New Teachers That Will Be Hired.

 

Dr. Parish said they are projecting 38,440 students next year, which is over 3,000 more than this year when school ended, and he said the projected enrollment was met this year.  He stated unfortunately, they still have students who leave school without finishing, and usually there is a decline in the second semester (high schools).  Dr. Parish said they are opening four (4) new schools, which are Ola Middle, Ola High School, New Hope Elementary, and Timber Ridge. 

 

Dr. Parish said they still bring and provide employment opportunities; he said they will hire over 600 additional teachers this year, noting this is not additional teachers over and above what they already have, but through normal attrition and the ones they will need for growth. 

 

Commissioner Adams asked if the schools still have ‘Hurricane Katrina’ students.

 

Dr. Parish confirmed.  He said they received compensation for those students; he said they are now being audited to insure they have proper documentation on all of those students who were enrolled.  “We heard different amounts of Federal dollars that were going to follow those children, who were evacuees from New Orleans.  That number kept going down, but then you only received it at three different times, based on whether or not the students were still with you.  At the height, we had over 300 enrolled, and we are down to 100 who remained with us the entire time.  I believe those parents have truly relocated to Henry County now and will probably be here next year.”

 

 

Board of Commissioners’ Comments:

 

Commissioner Holman said Rob Magnaghi, Dr. Parish, and he visited the Fairview Elementary School last year, and this year (July), the County is going to resurface Fairview Road.  He said Terry McMickle has instructed staff to install additional turn lanes in front of Fairview Elementary School. 

 

Commissioner Holder asked if Timber Ridge Elementary School was over budget or was it handled by the bond. 

 

Dr. Parish stated some of those settlement agreements are confidential, but he said the Board of Education is coming out in extremely good financial shape.

 

Chairman Harper announced the next Board of Commissioners/Board of Education Meeting will be Thursday, September 14, 2006, hosted by the Board of Education. 

 

Commissioner Holder said he would like to applaud and commend Ms. Pam Nutt for receiving the “Laura Bush Grant.”  He said it was for Spalding County Schools, and he thought she should be recognized for that honor. 

 

Commissioner Adams made the motion to adjourn at 7:31 p.m.; Commissioner Holman seconded.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Vice-Chairman Nutt called the meeting adjourned for the Board of Education Board Members.

 

 

                                                            Jason T. Harper, Chairman

 

 

Peggy L. Malcolm, Deputy County