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BOE approves FY15 budget, new staff

POSTED: June 25, 2014 1:00 p.m.
Zac Taylor/Barrow County News

Judge Tammy Brown swears in new Barrow Superintendent Chris McMichael, left, during the Tuesday night work session while BOE Chairman Mark Still assists.

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The Barrow County school system passed a couple of major hurdles toward being prepared for the upcoming school year.

On Tuesday night at the work session and called board meeting, board members unanimously approved the finalized general budget and other fund budget for fiscal year 2015.

Dr. Chris McMichael was also officially sworn in by Judge Tammy Brown as the next superintendent, postdated to July 1 (he has been acting superintendent until former superintendent Wanda Creel's contract ends June 30). McMichael is the 17th superintendent in Barrow.

"I hope I don’t have to do this again for a very long time," said BOE chairman Mark Still while smiling after being a part of the swearing in ceremony.

The board also unanimously approved the resignation of Creel, now the superintendent at Gainesville City Schools, and approved a new executive director of human resources – Tausha Gresham – to replace Sherri Freeman.

Creel was there for the approval of the tentative general fund budget before departing, but now McMichael will have the chance to oversee a budget that includes $96,503,598 in revenues and $98,986,963 in expenditures, which is anticipated to lower the year-end fund balance from $10,350,558 at the end of the current fiscal year to $7,867,193.

Highlights of the budget include the elimination of all furlough days and bumping the calendar up to 176 days.

The members, who have previously praised the budget when it was first presented to them, were unanimous in approving the final.

The budget brings the calendar from a low of 160 days two years ago, and 170 for the current year, up to 176 days – just four short of a full 180-day calendar.

Even at 176, the calendar includes more than enough equivalent time in the day, as mandated by law.

The budget does not include a proposed plan to hire three medical workers to assist nurses at the schools. That plan, if eventually approved, would be amended to the approved budget, but McMichael said director of students services Matt Thompson was still waiting for final approval from the state for the unique plan.

McMichael was able to move much quicker on getting in a new executive cabinet member to handle HR duties. Gresham is coming from Richmond County Schools in Augusta where she was the HR coordinator. She said this will be her first position in the executive cabinet.

McMichael told board members she was far and away the best candidate, and executive director of student services Jan Masingill added that the staff was really excited about her coming on, and that her presence would keep the system from missing a beat.

Freeman recently accepted a position to be an assistant superintendent for Clarke County Schools.


Personnel report

The board approved the resignations of a former principal and assistant principal among 19 resignations.

Jeff Koch, who had resigned his position at County Line Elementary earlier in the summer but was initially planning on staying in the system in a different capacity, according to Freeman, resigned from the system to seek other employment. Also, the board accepted the resignation of Winder-Barrow High assistant principal Molly Stiltner.

The board also accepted the resignation of federal programs coordinator Paula Rufus and approved her replacement, David Beland.

The board also approved 18 new teachers and a new school social worker.



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