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The Board of Education Determines ESPLOST V Projects

Related Documents:
Mrs. Reese`s Presentation
Planned Project: Ringgold Middle Baseball/Softball Complex
Planned Project: Graysville Elementary

 

The Board of Education Determines ESPLOST V Projects

The Board of Education received input for potential ESPLOST V projects during the Community Engagement meeting on October 1, 2015. Approximately 200 people attended the meeting. Superintendent Reese said, “ESPLOST provides the additional revenue we need to provide excellent educational facilities for our children. I really appreciate that so many people took the time to participate in the planning process.”

Prior to receiving community input, Mrs. Reese provided a presentation to explain ESPLOST and potential projects the Board of Education had planned for the next referendum. According to her presentation, Catoosa County citizens have supported ESPLOST since 1997. ESPLOST funds are designated for capital outlay expenditures including building new schools and classrooms. ESPLOST may also be used to purchase surveillance equipment, buses, and technology.

Superintendent Reese also explained that 7 of the system’s 17 schools are over 50 years old. With aging facilities, ESPLOST is very important for the school system to preserve the community’s investment in educational facilities because this revenue can be used to renovate and revitalize schools, and to perform routine maintenance including HVAC units, roofing, painting, and flooring. Mrs. Reese explained that with ESPLOST revenue for capital projects, the school system can focus general fund revenue on instruction and programs for students.

Superintendent Reese said, “The school system fulfilled ESPLOST IV promises by completing projects presented in the 2010 community meeting.” These promises included a major revitalization at LFO High School, updating the media center at West Side Elementary, installing interactive white boards in every classroom, purchasing 24 buses, and performing maintenance in every school. In the community engagement meeting in 2010, stakeholders requested a theater at Ringgold High School, a larger band room for Heritage Middle, and improvements for LFO High School’s football field. These projects were also completed with ESPLOST IV.

Mrs. Reese said, “The projects the Board planned for ESPLOST V were based on community input from the 2010 meeting and stakeholder surveys in 2013. On the survey, the community identified five financial priorities for the school system, and three of the priorities can be accomplished with ESPLOST V.”

The first priority is safe and secure schools. Superintendent Reese said, “With crisis situations that have occurred in schools across the country, we know we must work diligently to protect our children. If the community continues to support ESPLOST, we will enhance safety and security in every school.”

The school system will use ESPLOST V to enhance student safety by installing the Sielox CLASS system in every school. This system enables teachers to communicate with administrators, law enforcement, and emergency responders from a smartphone or tablet. With CLASS, a teacher or a school administrator can silently dispatch 911 in an emergency situation and law enforcement officers receive real-time information from the school.

Other projects include additional surveillance equipment, and locks to barricade classroom doors in an emergency. The school system will evaluate visitor entrances and front door access locking systems, as well as continuing to purchase buses to maintain safe transportation. Mrs. Reese also explained that some elementary schools have very old playground equipment. To enhance student safety, some ESPLOST V funds are designated for playground equipment and improvements.

The second priority is preparing students for the 21st Century. Mrs. Reese said, “Technology has radically changed the skills our students need to be successful in college and the workforce. After graduation, students will be expected to use technology effectively. To prepare our students for a technology-driven global economy, we must put the tools for their future in their hands today.”

With ESPLOST V, the school system has planned the “Let’s Get CONNECTed!” initiative. This initiative will provide an iPad for every kindergarten through second grade student to use at school, a Chromebook for every third through eighth grade student to use at school, and a Chromebook for every high school student to use at school and at home. Superintendent Reese said, “I am very excited about providing technology for every child in the system. While technology is an important tool for our students, it will never replace a classroom teacher.”

In addition to teaching students to use technology productively, “Let’s Get CONNECTed!” will prepare the school system to meet a recent Georgia Department of Education mandate that 80% of students take state-mandated tests on-line by 2017. Mrs. Reese said, “We are piloting “Let’s Get CONNECTed!” in every secondary school with great success.”

The final priority is maintaining schools and facility equitability. Mrs. Reese said, “The Board of Education has always been committed to facility equitability because we understand that parents want the school their child is zoned to attend to be equitable to other schools in the country. The original Graysville Elementary School is 65 years old, and it is our oldest school in operation. To maintain facility equitability, we will complete a major renovation at this school with ESPLOST V.”

Additional equitability projects that Mrs. Reese presented include concession stands and restrooms at Lakeview Middle and Heritage Middle as well as football stadium bleachers and improvements for LFO High School. A baseball/softball complex will be built at Ringgold Middle School. This project will include moving power lines and road modifications to improve traffic safety on the campus. Mrs. Reese said, “Ringgold Middle is the only middle school that doesn’t have baseball and softball fields. This project was requested during the ESPLOST IV community meeting, and I’m pleased that we could include this project in ESPLOST V.”

Following Superintendent Reese’s presentation, the Board of Education listened to the community through verbal and written comments. Several groups spoke supporting projects the Board had already planned. The only project requested at the meeting that was not included in the Board’s planned projects was an indoor swimming facility to be shared by all Catoosa County swim teams.

Superintendent Reese said, “During the board planning session, the Board evaluated every planned project and the request for an indoor swimming pool. The Board and I understand our swimmers would like a facility in the county where they could practice and hold swim meets; however, at this time, we don’t have enough information about the ongoing costs to operate and maintain an indoor pool. An ESPLOST could potentially fund the initial investment; however, ESPLOST cannot fund the ongoing expense for operating a pool. The Board determined that an indoor swimming pool would not be included in the ESPLOST V referendum.”

ESPLOST V will be on the ballot on March 1, 2016.

 

 

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Catoosa County Public Schools | P.O. Box 130 | Ringgold, GA 30736 | (706) 965-2297