Montgomery BOE Hires New Special Education Director
The Montgomery County Board of Education in its monthly meeting August 16, approved the hiring of Alicia Hartley as the School System’s new Special Education director, replacing Audrey Walters who retired for health reasons.
Hartley worked at Wheeler County Elementary School since 1995. She studied speech-language pathology at Valdosta State University, and received a specialist degree from Georgia College and State University in 2017.
Pre-Literacy Coordinator The system is also accepting applications for a Pre-Literacy Coordinator. This newly-created position will not only provide an employee to work within the school but also within the community through day cares, HeadStart, churches, and in other ways. The coordinator will help children acquire early literacy skills and provide assistance to parents to better prepare their children for school.
Interim Superintendent Mark Davidson said of the new position, “We are working to do everything we can to give our kids the best opportunity to read by 3rd grade,” he explained. The school already offers community literacy outreach through the Eagle Express program, a mobile project that assists children with homework and tutoring.
School Millage Rate
The Board tentatively approved the setting of the millage rate for school taxes to remain at 15 mills. The state has suggested the possibility of lowering the millage rate because of the rise in property values; however, “dropping the millage rate below 15 would cause the school to lose equalization and other funding,” Davidson said.
“In my experiences in other school systems, it is harder to raise the millage rate after dropping below 15; thus, for the sake of the future and current funding, I think it is necessary to leave the rate where it is,” Davidson said. “It is what is best for the kids in our school system to retain funding.”
The final decision regarding the millage rate will be made in September. The BOE will host three public hearings to address public concerns about this action. Hearing dates will be announced later.
Other personnel also added to the Montgomery County Schools staff include Yolanda Robinson, BOE secretary; Nikki McDaniel, prekindergarten paraprofessional; Bernice Stanley, afternoon bus monitor; and Michael Berkins, Rita Curl, and Karen Nobles, substitute roster; Shane Taylor and Buck Brazell, long-term substitute bus drivers, and Melissa Fernandez, Early Intervention Program teacher for students struggling academically.
The replacement of a broken air conditioning unit at the elementary school was approved unanimously by the board at a cost of $10,240 using SPLOST funds. The BOE also discussed the possibility of using CARES 3 funding for the purchase of a new bus to replace the special education department bus, which is becoming unreliable because of age and mileage. The possibility of a new maintenance truck to replace a wrecked vehicle was also considered. The purchase of the GHSA-mandated lightning detector for the sports complex was approved at a cost of $21,450.
The athletics department of the school announced the need for volunteers to work the concession stand and/or cook for the concession stand during home football games. Any interested party can reach out to Davidson for further guidance.