The Henry County Board of Commissioners held a Called Public Meeting with the Henry County Board of Education at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 8, 2009, in the Community Room, County Administration Building, 140 Henry Parkway, McDonough, Georgia. Notice of this meeting was posted in the entrance foyer of the County Administration Building. The Daily Herald was notified of this meeting. Those present were:

Board of Commissioners

                        Elizabeth “BJ” Mathis, Chairman,

Reid A. Bowman, Vice-Chairman, District IV Commissioner

Warren E. Holder, District I Commissioner

Commissioner Rick Jeffares, District II Commissioner

Randy Stamey, District III Commissioner

Johnny B. Basler, District V Commissioner


            Board of Education

                        Ray Hudalla, Chairman, District V

                        Brian Preston, District II

                        Erik Charles, District IV

                        Michael Surma, Superintendent

            Not Present

Pam Nutt, Vice-Chairman, District I

Charles Vickery, District III


Also attending were Shay Mathis, County Clerk; LaTonya Nix-Wiley, County Attorney; and others.

Acceptance of Agenda

            Chairman Mathis called the meeting to order and called for an acceptance of the agenda.  Commissioner Stamey made the motion to accept the agenda; Commissioner Holder seconded.  The motion carried unanimously.  


            Commissioner Bowman made the motion to recess the meeting for diner; Commissioner Jefffares seconded.  The motion carried 5-0-0.

            Commissioner Stamey made the motion to reconvene the meeting; Commissioner Holder seconded.  The motion carried 5-0-0.

Technical College Update

            Mr. Michael Surma, School Superintendent, stated there is a great effort to bring Technical College or higher education to Henry County that is a part of the State’s System.  Griffin Technical College received a $475,000 planning grant.  Planning a facility that will be located next Henry County High School on 25 acres of land currently owned by the Board of Education.  The facility will be the first by a technical college in Henry County. 

Academy for Advanced Studies Update

            Mr. Ray Hudala, Chairman of the Board of Education stated there has been a renovation project at Henry County High School and some areas have been added.  Mr. Surma stated the Committee is trying to move on the joint agreements with Clayton State University, Gordon College and Griffin Technical College.  The Academy began this year.  The Academy for Advanced Studies is a division of key individuals and groups within the community.  The purpose is to develop exciting opportunities for students and adults of Henry County to continue their post-secondary education within Henry County.

            Students within the Henry County School System will have the advantage of taking joint enrollment classes with all three institutions.  Currently there are 300 people enrolled in the Academy.

Financial State of Henry County Schools

            Mr. Brian Preston, District II Board Member presented a power point presentation regarding the financial state of Henry County Schools.  Mr. Preston stated the last year has been tough for everyone.  The school system has taken some licks with the bond referendum not passing and the transportation issues.

            The school systems Fiscal Year 2010 operating budget is $317,033,051.00.  There are 40,652 students which means approximately $7,798 is being spent per pupil.  This is $1,000 less than the State average.  In public education you have to take every student that comes.  There are 2,584 special education students and it cost $12,109 to educate those students.

            Out of 180 schools systems in Georgia, Henry County is 178 on being cost effective with #1 being the most expensive.  Henry County is spending $163.47 per pupil for general administration (Central Office) and the state average is $441.58. Eighty eight percent of the budget is for salaries and benefits. 

            The Board has been dealing with austerity cuts for years.  In 2009 the State cut close to $12 million from the local budget.  It is anticipated that next year’s cuts will be even bigger.  Next year’s budget is projected to be $3 million.  The local funds that are required to education one child is $3,200.  This would mean that home would need to be assessed at $277,000.  We need to work as a team and look at the tax base to make the necessary decisions to continue to have success.

            Even with the budget cuts, students are meeting expectations of the CRCT.  Reading grades 1 thru 8, 91% of the students are exceeding or greater.  Students meeting expectations on the Georgia High School Graduation Test is well in the 90’s.  In 2002, 66.7% of the students graduating from high school, as of last 80% of the students are graduating.  Both Boards are working together to make sure that tax payer’s money spent wisely and that children are receiving a good education.


Anticipated 2010 Tax Digest

             Mr. Surma asked if the information regarding the tax digest for next year could be relayed as soon as possible.

Safe Routes to School Program

            Michael Harris, Planning and Zoning Services Division Director and Cheri Hobson-Matthews, Transportation Planning Director presented the agenda item to both Boards.  The purpose of the presentation is to get a census from both Boards as to the direction in which they would like to take.  Safe Routes to Schools is a Federal program that has been around for a few years.  The program focuses on five key elements:  education, encourage, enforcement, evaluation and engineering.  The first four elements are focused with the Board of Education and are typically handled by a representative of the BOE along with a representative from the resource department with the Georgia Department Transportation (GDOT).  The fifth element is also handled by the representative with GDOT through the program.  Once the sidewalks or walk-ways are constructed, there would be an inter-governmental agreement between the County and the BOE to make the infrastructure is maintained.  A resolution is not need to move forward, however if there is a desire to submit an application, a joint approval would be needed from both Boards. 

            Chairman Mathis asked if the Board of Education has had the opportunity to discuss this grant opportunity.  Mr. Hudalla stated they have looked at the grant and they are interested in looking at how the grant can happen in the county.  If it works, they are willing to go ahead. 

            Chairman Mathis asked what the deadline for this application is.  Mrs. Hobson-Matthews stated their will be a call for applications in the spring of 2010.  Chairman Mathis stated from the county’s standpoint, they are interested in the grant.  Mr. Hudalla stated each school will have to be assessed to see what the need is for each area.

Turn lanes at Rocky Creek Elementary and Hampton Middle School

            Terry McMickle, Public Works Division Director presented the agenda item to the Board.  The turn lanes have been completed in front of both schools. 

Marketing the Recycling Program within the Schools

            Michael Harris, Planning and Zoning Services Division Director presented the agenda item to the Board.  Early in the year the Board of Commissioners adopted a new Solid Waste Management Plan and a key component of the plan was to incorporate a new curb side recycling program.  One of the issues that has come up repeatedly is a lot of people still doesn’t know about the program itself. Staff has been looking into was to market this program and get the word out.  One way that was discussed was to partner with the Board of Education to provide literature to students in grades K – 8 to take home to their parents to make them aware of the program.  The county would provide all the flyers. 

            Mr. Surma stated the AP environmental science teachers met with county staff and there is an agenda that will be brought to the Board of Education because they would like to make this program part of their curriculum.

Next Meeting Date

            Both Boards agreed the next meeting would be April 22, 2010.


            Commissioner Holder made the motion to adjourn the meeting; Commissioner Stamey seconded.  The motion carried 5-0-0.



                                                                        Elizabeth “BJ” Mathis, Chairman


Shay Mathis, County Clerk