County schools to install safety buttons
by Mark Andrews
Mar 12, 2013 | 913 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bartow County schools are going to become safer thanks to new emergency buttons to be installed in the front office of each of the system’s 19 schools, Superintendent John Harper reports.

“What happens when this button is pushed ... is a message goes out to all the classrooms, in the principal’s voice, that we have, essentially, a code red to help protect our children and to be safer,” Harper said during Monday’s work session.

He said 911 also will be called if a school employee were to push the button.

“We’ve been putting those in our buildings, we will continue to put them in, and [Chief School Resource officer Dan Knowles] has also been looking at all of our schools, doing some pooled reports about the safety concerns we have in our buildings, because ... it’s a priority for us to keep our children and our staff safe. And this is just one the little measures we have been working on in our buildings to, again, alert 911 and to let our staff know we have a real emergency in our building that needs to be taken care of with the procedures that we have to protect ourselves.”

Harper said the buttons cost about $1,500 each and are alloted for in the system’s maintenance budget.

In other news, the board discussed its agenda for Monday, March 18, which includes the second readings of changes to the system’s public participation policy, board member unexpired term fulfillment policy and the complaints and grievances for non-certified employee policy.

The Daily Tribune News previously reported the public participation changes will include being able to sign up for public participation online and that the superintendent reported the intent of changing the non-certified employee complaints and grievances policy would clarify the process for which non-certified employees address the board with complaints and grievances.

The change in the unexpired board member term policy, according to the system, is to align local policy with state law. Specifically, HB 623 of the 2003 Georgia Legislative Session, which has been cited by residents Gail Englehart and Paul Nally. Both have argued in court, and during public participation portions of board meetings, that member Anna Sullivan was illegally appointed to the board in 2012 following the December 2011 resignation of board member Larry Parker.

During a June 13, 2012, court hearing regarding a writ of quo warranto filed against Sullivan by Englehart and Nally, Judge David Smith said he would have the court make an inquiry into whether Sullivan’s appointment violated the law. No court date had been set to determine the court’s findings prior to Sullivan’s July 31, 2012, election and no calls to Smith’s office regarding the status of the court’s inquiry into the appointment have been returned.

Englehart requested Monday the board, and Sullivan, provide a written apology regarding the change in policy to be published by local media. Harper said he had no comment on Englehart’s request, other than the board sought legal council before Sullivan’s appointment.

Agenda items for the Monday, March 18, business session include:

• A proposed $30,000 contract with the Rollins Atlanta Speech School to provide training and in-classroom support for pre-K teachers to integrate literacy and language readiness across the curriculum;

• Seven bus body and chassis at a bid of $97,762 each, for a total of $684,337, to be taken from Special Local Option Sales Tax, bus bond and bus replacement funds;

• A $819,000 bid for the new South Central Middle School band room;

• Approval of a $794,388 budgeted formal “Planescape” by Vicro Manufacturing to, according to the school system, “accurately and adequately assess and recommend the furnishings needed for the students, teachers and administrative staff for the new Adairsville Middle School. This project will include the installation of furnishings and removal of all associated packaging for the new school.”

In school finance news, Chief Financial Advisor Todd Hooper said the recent independent audit made into system finances did not show any substantial problems. For a report from the auditor, read Wednesday’s DTN.