School Board Welcomes Chair, 2 Board Members for New Terms; Purchases Land for School Site

School Board Welcomes Chair, 2 Board Members for New Terms; Purchases Land for School Site

School Board Chair Kyla Cromer is sworn into office on Thursday, Jan. 19, for a four-year term by Cherokee County Probate Court Judge Keith Wood, as her husband, Randy, and daughter, Mallory, look on.

School Board Member Patsy Jordan listens as Cherokee County Probate Court Judge Keith Wood administers her oath for another four-year term. Holding their father’s Bible for the ceremony is her sister, Shelley.

School Board Member Kelly Poole signs official documents after being sworn into office for a four-year term by Cherokee County Probate Court Judge Keith Wood.

The Cherokee County School Board on Thursday, Jan. 19, welcomed Chair Kyla Cromer and members Patsy Jordan and Kelly Poole back for another four-year term, and purchased land for a future school site in northeast Cherokee.

The three Board Members were sworn in at the start of the meeting by Cherokee County Probate Court Judge Keith Wood; all three were elected in the November General Election without opposition.  Following the ceremonies, the Board selected Board Member Mike Chapman as its Vice Chair for the year.

The Board unanimously approved the purchase of 40 acres of property, for $13,000 an acre, at Flatbottom Road and Highway 372 near Ball Ground adjacent to existing CCSD holdings.  The site will expand CCSD’s holdings in northeast Cherokee and allow for future construction of multiple schools, such as a middle and high school, on one campus.

“While construction of these schools is not in our current Five-Year Facilities Plan, we expect residential development will quickly occur as the area’s infrastructure improves, and this purchase better positions us to prepare and respond,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said, noting CCSD similarly acquired property on Owens Store Road ahead of the growth in east Cherokee, and now that site is home to Creekland MS and Creekview HS.

The Board also unanimously approved a resolution requesting the Cherokee County Legislative Delegation pass local legislation increasing Board Chair compensation from $600 per month to $1,200 per month and increasing Board Member compensation from $600 per month to $1,000 per month.  The increase is the first since 2002 and takes into account the 2012 State legislation that created a countywide Board Chair and larger Board Member posts.

Cherokee County Council of PTA President Kathy Strom presented a letter, on behalf of her executive board and all school PTA Presidents, in support of the increase.

“Their compensation rates have not been adjusted in many years; and though they will never be appropriately compensated for the hours of travel and time they put into their roles, it certainly should not be a position that ends up costing them money to serve,” she said.  “Help us make this a school district that has competitive compensation to get the best to stay here with us.”

Board Members thanked the PTA for its support of their service.

“It’s not why we’re here,” Board Member John Harmon said of being thanked.  “But every now and again, it feels good when someone stands behind you.”

The Board heard the first or two readings to adopt an amended School Board Policy regarding student records, and learned of a related planned pilot project.  Dr. Hightower said he has authorized plans to pilot the installation of security cameras in several classrooms serving CCSD’s most challenged Special Education students to further enhance record-keeping, safety and security.

“We want to enhance security both for our students and our staff,” he said.  “We have an outstanding reputation for Special Education programs, and we work collaboratively with parents and teachers to ensure these children receive the highest-quality education and care possible.  This pilot is another way for us to focus on continuous improvement.”

The School Board also:

  • Recognized CCSD for fourth consecutive appearance on Annual AP (Advance Placement) District Honor Roll;
  • Recognized five CCSD Schools as National Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certified Schools and nine CCSD Educators as National Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certified Educators;
  • Recognized Cherokee HS senior Julia Kochansky, Creekview HS senior Kelly Hart and River Ridge HS senior Anabelle Paulino as National Hispanic Scholars;
  • Recognized CCSD staff for winning a record 15 Georgia School Public Relations Association (GSPRA) Publication Awards;
  • Recognized CCSD bus driver Brianna McNeese for life-saving actions by swiftly and successfully administering the Heimlich maneuver to a choking student;
  • Approved the renewal of the Partnership Agreement with the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners;
  • Adopted the Georgia Education Coalition 2017 Legislative Priorities;
  • Approved monthly financial and Education SPLOST reports;
  • Approved out-of-state travel;
  • Approved out-of-state and overnight student field trips;
  • Approved the monthly capital outlay projects report;
  • Approved monthly personnel recommendations including the retirements of several CCSD administrators and Principals; and,
  • Met in Executive Session for the Superintendent’s annual evaluation and to discuss a real estate matter, but took no action upon returning to open session.

Next meeting: 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017

Additional photos from School Board meeting, including photos of recognitions: