The price tag on the Northeast High School/Appling Middle School replacement project has gone up to $49 million.
The $4 million increase accounts for four more instructional units at the middle school and high school and 67,000 more square feet for the complex, all based on Georgia Department of Education standards.
“We’ve come up with some adjustments that are needed in that project,” said Jason Daniel, Capital Improvement Program executive director for the district, during the Bibb County school board’s meeting Tuesday night. “The programmatic needs have exceeded what we initially budgeted for.”
The additional $4 million was pulled from education special purpose local option sales tax funds that were going to be used for a fourth new elementary school. Three new elementary schools have already been built in the district. A need or location was never identified for a fourth, and with declining enrollment it made sense to reduce those earmarked funds from $19 million to $15 million, he said.
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The district’s older elementary schools have money allocated to them for renovation, and board members plan to tour some of the district’s schools to see how they can be improved.
The board also authorized the purchase of new science textbooks, at a cost of more than $1.6 million, for kindergarten through 12th grade. The books were chosen after feedback from science teachers, administrators, parents and stakeholders, and match the state’s revised standards for more exploration learning, said Brian Butler, district science coordinator.
STEM Scopes materials will be bought for kindergarten through eighth-grade classes, said Floyd Jolley, the district’s executive director of teaching and learning. Lessons will be taught through an online component, rather than traditional textbooks, and hands-on lab equipment. Science notebooks will be available for students who don’t have access to technology at home. Ninth through 12th grades will have physical textbooks and online extras.
The board also heard details on summer academic programs. Students in third grade who fail the reading portion of the Georgia Milestones test and fifth- and eighth-graders who don’t pass reading and math portions will be required to attend the tutoring sessions. The courses were held last year, but this is the first time they will be required, said Tanzy Kilcrease, the district’s assistant superintendent of teaching and learning.
High school students can pay $150 to take summer acceleration courses to get ahead or to retake a full course. Those who earn grades between 65 and 69 in a course can do credit repair for $50.
Also during the board meeting, a contract of nearly $978,000 was awarded to Citisco Equipment Co. to upgrade equipment in the district’s Central Kitchen.