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Bibb School Board Reviews Audit, 11-Month Calendar | Schools

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Bibb School Board Reviews Audit, 11-Month Calendar
Schools

STORY HIGHLIGHTS 

  • An audit says Superintendent Romain Dallemand committed $9 million more to Promise Neighborhoods than the school board's original agreement.
  • School board president Tommy Barnes signed a $5.75 million lease agreement on a building the district sold for $220,000 in 2009.
  • Board members want to know more about the costs of turning to an 11-month school year calendar.
  • No board president or vice-president was elected after a 4-4 deadlock between members Lynn Farmer and Wanda West.

In a six-hour meeting, the Bibb County School Board discussed several items, including a proposed change to an 11-month school calendar and an audit that faults school system leadership for the way they handled two multi-million dollar deals.

Before the meeting began, an executive session was called to address "personnel matters and potential litigation" but no action was taken. That session lasted almost an hour.

Bibb County Schools Audited

The firm that handled the audit said the district came out clean, but needs to be cautious when it comes to protocol.

The comments centered around a partnership with Macon Promise Neighborhood, a group that takes a neighborhood-wide approach to improving student achievement.

Mauldin and Jenkins, the auditor, says on July 20, 2012, Superintendent Romain Dallemand committed $19 million to the project. Then, along with Board President Tommy Barnes, he signed a $5.75 million lease agreement on the Ballard-Hudson building, which the district sold for $220,000 in 2009.

Neither action was approved by the the school board first but should have, according to the audit. Documents reviewed by 13WMAZ show members didn't see them until October 18th.

Miller Edwards with Mauldin and Jenkins says when the board approved the partnership with Macon Promise Neighborhood, they signed a memorandum of understanding that committed up to $10 million over a ten-year period. 

However, he says the superintendent later added over $9 million more to the total without board approval. 

Board members say they want to take a closer look at the policies before more money is spent.

11-Month Calendar School Year

Many of them also agreed the community needs more time to prepare for a change to an 11-month school year. 

Some questioned the costs associated with it, like money for increased air conditioning during the hot summer months and for remedial programs during the school breaks.

New board member Lester Miller added, "We haven't received ample input from our teachers, our parents, child daycare providers, and I think we're just rushing into this situation for 2013-2014. We've forced these teachers to be overly burdensome with extended days the students have, and I don't think it's very well thought out."

They asked the group in charge of creating the calendar, which includes about 30 principals, vice-principals and teachers, to make another presentation addressing their concerns at a later meeting but did not set a time for a vote.

No new school board president and vice president

The board had planned to vote on president and vice president during Thursday's meeting, but that did not happen because they kept deadlocking at a 4-4 vote between Lynn Farmer and Wanda West.

So for now, Sue Sipe, who was voted in as treasurer, is the interim president until the board calls for another vote.

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