Highlights of Meeting on April 18, 2016
President Garry Hamilton introduced the evening’s guests, Richard Sutherland, Hart BOE member, and Jerry Cannady, of the Hart County Water Board, and surprise guest, Hart County Superintendent of Schools, Jay Floyd.
Richard Sutherland began by expressing his belief that Board members should be “listeners” and acknowledged building trust in the Board of Education is a major problem he is working to resolve. He stated honesty and integrity is important in all aspects of educational administration and he personally feels “that if I can’t trust you, I will fire you.”
Main Points addressed by Mr. Sutherland included:
1. Budget is under preparation; trying to close the gap between what is needed & what is allocated.
2. Stressed importance of mentoring children at all levels of Hart schools. Many of our children need a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult; offered his personal cell number, if anyone would like to volunteer.
3. There are no plans at present to support establishment of the 4H at the AG Center; as the 4H nor has the State been an active participant or offered financial support towards AG Center.
4. Academic scores are trending up; he feels teachers are saddled with too many tasks and academics suffer.
5. Bus drivers, custodians, and cafeteria play a positive role in students’ learning temperament. School housekeeping is improved.
6. 3% State Budget increase will be spread across the board of classified workers especially those who have not had a wage increase in 10 years. Hart County has lowest classified worker pay scale in our District of 19 school systems.
7. Promised to post better descriptions of the BOE agendas on their website. Procurement process is to be re-evaluated with policy defining what needs Board approval.
Concluding, Mr. Sutherland took questions from attendees. Main points discussed were:
a. The training for the mentor program is insuffient;
b. New budget includes input from teachers and staff;
c. A replacement schedule has been developed to minimize equipment breakdown and retention of obsolete equipment.
Our next speakers, Jerry Cannady and Pat Goran, of the Hart County Water and Sewer Authority were introduced by Garry.
Jerry began by defining where water lines are currently in the County. He explained the Water Authority is funded by SPLOST dollars for capital expenditures only and government programs at the State level. They also can apply for grants which have strict guidelines for their use.
Main discussion points centered on:
Water line construction is progressing further down the Reed Creek Highway;
Need and system requirements primarily govern construction of new water lines.
Community water systems are insufficient to provide proper firefighting capability.
Average cost to put pipe in the ground on a major artery is $175,000 - $200,000 per mile.
Current customer base is 1500 customers;
Customer cost for hookup is payment of: $1,275.00 before construction; and current policy states that there must be 50% participation to hookup on any one street.
Franklin and Stephens Counties allocate much more of their SPLOST funds to water line building.
In conclusion Jerry and Pat asked all attending to urge their County Commissioners to allocate a higher percentage of SPLOST funds to the Water Authority.