Whitfield school board approves summer construction contracts

Ryan Anderson/Daily Citizen-News

Westside Elementary will receive repairs and improvements this summer after the Whitfield County Board of Education approved a construction contract Monday night. 

The Whitfield County Board of Education approved construction work, a minor policy tweak and a calendar during Monday's meeting.

Board members approved a nearly $3.8 million contract with Womack, Lewis and Smith Inc. for summer construction at Varnell Elementary and Westside Elementary, said Judy Gilreath, superintendent for Whitfield County Schools. Varnell Elementary will receive gym roof repairs, while Westside's work will include heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC), electrical and roof renovations.

Board members also approved a change order for construction on the roof at Pleasant Grove Elementary, Gilreath said. That project was completed nearly $60,000 under budget.

The board members approved the 2020-21 school calendar. Students will begin school on Aug. 6 and their last day will be May 28, 2021.

Audrey Williams, Whitfield County Schools' assistant superintendent for accountability and assessment, shared the quarterly accountability report for the school system.

The school board has achieved the Georgia School Boards Association's 2019 Distinguished School Board recognition, which is designed "to showcase best practices in school governance and leadership," according to the school system. The association recognizes outstanding school board governance "to foster educational community cultures in order to advance student learning and achievement, (and) only 10 of the 180 public school boards earned the Distinguished Board status."

Other highlights from the report include improved outcomes for students with disabilities for 2018-19, according to Williams. The graduation rate for Whitfield County Schools students with disabilities improved from 65% to 75%, the dropout rate decreased to 3% from 6%, and English Language Arts (ELA) proficiency jumped from 15% to 25%.

The school board members approved a change in board policy regarding equal opportunity employment, Gilreath said. "We just added some language that we can't discriminate because of genetics (in order) to be in line with the new federal regulations."

The next meeting of the school board is scheduled for Monday, March 2, at 6:30 p.m. at the central office. A work session is at 5:30.

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