The Bibb County school board met Thursday evening so it could give a company possibly looking to locate in Macon the news of whether it would be eligible for a property tax break here.
A manufacturing and distribution center — dubbed “Project Q” — could bring more than 350 new jobs and be a $200 million investment to Bibb County.
The company is close to making its decision about where it plans to locate, said Pat Topping, senior vice president for the Macon Economic Development Commission.
Normally, the school board would hear a proposal from Topping at the school board committee meeting about giving a special tax incentive to a company.
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Then a week later the board would take a final vote during its regular monthly meeting.
In what school system officials called a “special circumstances” meeting Thursday that was without the required 24-hour notice to the public and media, Topping told the board a vote for a tax break to the company couldn’t wait.
“We want to tell them the taxing agencies have approved the taxing schedules,” he said. “They are in their final decision-making process.”
After the board’s 2:30 p.m. committee meeting, the board readjourned for a 5 p.m. meeting and approved the tax break.
Topping said the Bibb County Commission had approved the tax break last week.
In other business during the school board’s committee meeting, the board approved:
— A class-size waiver for four of five third-grade classes at Heritage Elementary, which is each one student over the 23- student-capped state class-size law requirement.
— Authorization for school system attorneys to proceed with the necessary legal steps to allow the board to sell bonds for the 2010 capital improvement program to help jumpstart the construction of five new elementary schools during the next few years.
The school system also received its tax digest information last week and likely will call a special meeting next week to take steps to set its millage rate, said Ron Collier, the system’s chief financial officer.
The school system also addressed a state report released Wednesday showing that 13 Bibb schools that had higher-than-normal erasure marks.
School officials said they contacted Bibb principals Wednesday and Thursday in schools named in the report.
School officials will investigate why those schools had higher-than-normal erasure marks on students’ 2009 Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests.
By April, the school system plans to notify parents of its findings.
“I hope we can discover what the problems are,” Bibb County schools Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Cathy Magouyrk said. “If something is wrong, we want to know it, but we also don’t want to assume something wrong was done.”
She said there’s now a concern that when Bibb schools start CRCT testing in April that many teachers will be “nervous when kids erase.”
To contact writer Julie Hubbard, call 744-4331.