The Board of Education Thursday set two dates for public hearings on a proposal to close Unity Elementary School, the third year in a row that a school closure has been on the table for budget cuts.
The first hearing will be held 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 28 at Unity Elementary School, 525 Park Ave. The second will be 10:30 a.m. Feb. 4 at the Troup County School System Administrative Services building, 100 N. Davis Road, building C.
If the school closes, it is estimated to save $1.1 million and is one option to help make up a projected $3.2 to $4 million deficit in the next fiscal year. School officials have pointed to dwindling funding from the state, which is projected to give the school system $16.5 million less than its formulated appropriation next year, as cause for the deficit.
Superintendent Cole Pugh said the school board should decide whether to close Unity at its February meeting, set for Feb. 21, to allow parents, students and employees enough time to make decisions if the school is closed. If Unity is closed, it will follow West Side Magnet School, which closed last year, and Cannon Street Elementary School, which was closed in 2011.
The school system is facing an overhaul of its elementary schools in part of a long-range plan to make the school system more efficient. The long-range plan would include expanding and relocating existing elementary schools, and building new elementary schools that would better serve areas currently with no central school. Each school would be larger and serve more students, while creating new attendance zones that would cut down on transportation costs, Pugh said.
In other business Thursday, the board appointed Torrance Construction Company as construction manager “at risk” for renovation work at Hillcrest, Ethel Kight, Hogansville and Rosemont elementary schools for a fee of 7.75 percent. Work includes HVAC and re-roofing at Rosemont at a projected $1.2 million; re-roofing at Ethel Kight at a projected $110,000; HVAC and re-roofing at Hillcrest for a projected $550,000 and re-roofing of the gym at Hogansville Elementary at a projected $200,000.
The cost will be covered by special-purpose, local-option sales tax funds. Being “at risk” means Torrance is responsible if costs are more than 7.75 over the total quoted amount, $2.1 million.
In other business, the board also:
•Approved spending $36,254.15 in state Title 1 funds to purchase seven interactive promethean boards from Logical Choice Technologies for Callaway Elementary School.
•Approved a policy governing the formation and definition of booster clubs at schools, which also defines the relationship between schools and booster clubs for legal liability reasons.
•Approved updated board member code of ethics and conflict of interest policies.
•Appointed board member Ted Alford, who wasn’t present at Thursday’s meeting, as state legislative liaison for 2013.