The Bibb County school board met Thursday to discuss topics ranging from discipline statistics to renewing service contracts, among others.
Michele Flowers, Bibb schools’ discipline coordinator, presented suspension and expulsion numbers to the board, noting that they have decreased significantly.
The school system had about 16,000 “discipline action counts” -- suspension or other types of punishment -- during the 2013-14 school year, and the number now sits just below 9,000.
Flowers attributed the drop to a “revision of the code of conduct.” Revisions included the implementation of the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports program, a redesign of zero-tolerance policies as well as “more focus from the district level,” which ensured suspensions were being examined.
The school board was also presented information about the effect House Bill 91 had on former Bibb students.
Last legislative session, the Georgia General Assembly passed HB 91, which allows former students who met all the requirements for high school graduation but failed the state’s graduation test to receive their diplomas.
From 1994 to 2011, Georgia students were required to pass the graduation test before they could receive their high school diplomas. Despite the state dropping that mandate in 2011, there remains a number of students without diplomas who satisfied all other requirements to graduate except for passing the test.
Since HB 91 passed, Bibb County has received a little more than 700 applications for review. Of those applications, 403 are eligible to get their diploma, 72 are not and 254 are still pending review.
The education sales tax was also a point of discussion.
“In anticipation of our E-SPLOST referendum being approved by the voters, we felt it was important to have some type of oversight from the voters,” said Randy Howard, the school district’s in-house counsel.
The “Citizens E-SPLOST Oversight Committee” would be made up of representatives of the community, one chosen by each board member, and would help provide accountability on projects.
“The board still has the authority when it comes to specific projects,” but the committee is expected to increase public input, Howard said.
Also, the following service contracts were unanimously approved by the board:
School City Inc. was awarded $183,518 to provide a new assessment platform for the 2015-16 school year.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (formerly Scholastic Inc.) was awarded $384,200 to purchase software licenses connected to the continuation of the Read 180 program.
Companies approved to provide food services to Bibb schools for the 2015-16 school year: $4.95 million for US Foods; $455,000 for ACC Distributors; $699,000 for Williams Institutional Foods; $18,750 for Coca-Cola and $1,150 for Mayfield Dairy.
To contact writer David Schick, call 744-4382 or find him on Twitter@davidcschick.