MCBOE Recognizes FFA Jr. Floriculture Team
The Montgomery County Board of Education (MCBOE) recognized four students for their work with the Future Farmers of America (FFA) Junior Floriculture Team, which will soon compete at the state level in Perry on February 11.
At the area competition, the team of middle school students won second place, punching their ticket to compete at the state level. Since then, the members have been brushing up on their knowledge of fertilizer and flowering plants, even having studied a total of 100 species for identification. During the competition, members must work to identify 25 plants on display at the event, and take a short quiz on the caretaking and anatomy of this vegetation. “We’re very proud of them and excited for this opportunity,” Montgomery County Middle School FFA Advisor Nicole Smith remarked.
Smith also informed the Board that the Georgia Agriculture Mobile Classroom came to the school this past week, January 2627, for the elementary school students and sixth graders to have a unique opportunity to interact with agriculture curriculum. According to Smith, the process of selection for which school systems the Mobile Classroom will visit is very competitive, and the Montgomery System is one of only 50 school systems to which the facility will travel.
This Mobile Classroom will be parked at the Heartland Academy adjacent to Montgomery’s Elementary School, and will allow students to learn about various aspects of Georgia Agriculture, such as forestry, dairy, and peanut production, through hands-on activities and games.
Smith shared her excitement for the event, as she has her own personal connection with the learning tool. “Before I was an agriculture teacher, I worked with the Georgia Pecan Growers Association, so I had a hand in making the pecan curriculum [in the Mobile Classroom].” She told the board members. “I’m excited to see it in motion; I’ve never actually seen students in the Mobile Classroom.”
She invited the Board and the public to visit the Mobile Classroom from 3 p.m. until 4 p.m. on January 26, when the facility was open for adults to visit. Superintendent Contract Superintendent Stan Rentz’s previous contract, which was established on October 21, 2021, and was set to expire on June 30, 2023, was terminated and a new contract, which will expire on June 30, 2024, was unanimously approved. This new contract included some new language, and a few new provisions.
The biggest change was the implementation of 5 new subsections under compensation and benefits, to further detail the permitted vacation and sick leave times, travel allowance, professional dues, and outside activities. In these sections, Rentz is designated to work at least 220 days, 30 days beyond the 190 days customarily assigned to teachers, rather than the 240 days outlined in the previous contract. He is allowed 3 days of paid vacation leave per month and 15 total paid sick days, which may carry on to the next year if unused.
The contract also agrees to provide fuel and maintenance for an automobile for the Superintendent, which may be used for all travel, both school and personal, within Board guidelines. The vehicle will be for daily use and conferences, and other employees and Board members may use the vehicle when attending conferences and workshops to alleviate any need for mileage reimbursement. The vehicle will be purchased using Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds, and only employees of the school or the Superintendent are permitted to drive.
All dues for professional associations in which the Superintendent is involved will be paid by the Board, and the school system will pay for his membership in one local civic club. Rentz is also permitted to undertake consultant work, speaking engagements, and writings or other professional work as long as the activities do not interfere with his duties to the District; however, the Board must be notified prior to these activities. Also, as outlined in the new contract, if the Board does not plan on renewing Rentz’s contract upon its expiration, he must be notified at least 3 months in advance, by March 30, 2024.
Corrective Action Plan
A Corrective Action Plan was approved by the Board to reinforce standard practices. This plan was first developed to help correct a one-time issue with $32,737 of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds that were used to pay for emergency bathroom repair, which was discovered during a review of expenditures for the program.
This situation arose when an interim superintendent, who served the school for 3 months, had an emergency construction project, dealing with a bathroom, which had to be addressed immediately. Initially, the request bypassed the Director of Federal Programs, which had never happened before. After review, the Board office feels like this happened because of a time of tumult and stress within the administration, as they state there was a lot of unexpected turnover between the superintendent and other office staff.
In this plan, all parties agree to reconcile purchases monthly to ensure everything is in line with the current budget and plan, ensure that no federal funds are used for construction projects, and receive approval for drawdown of funds from the Director of Federal Programs.
2023-2024 School Calendar
The calendar for the 2023-2024 School Year was approved unanimously by the Board. In this calendar, the first day of school is scheduled for Thursday, August 3, while the last day of school will be Thursday, May 16, 2024. Fall Break will be October 6-9, Christmas Break will be December 15 through January 3, and Spring Break will be April 1-5, 2023.
Retirements were accepted for High School Assistant Principals Marvin Howard and Jimmy Williams, High School Teacher Darrell Rowell, and Middle School Teacher Elizabeth Shannon. Patrick Peebles was hired as a custodian, while Shanerica Hullender was hired for a position at the Little Eagle Learning Center. Elementary School Paraprofessional Yesenia Serrano will also transfer to the Little Eagle Learning Center.
A new maintenance truck will be purchased for the school system, as the Board approved the lowest bid for a 2022 Dodge Ram Service Truck. Also, new vinyl-coated chain link fencing will be installed at the site of the new Little Eagle Learning Center and Montgomery County Elementary School.
Rentz said a total of 32 elementary students are now active in the school’s Beta Club after the recent induction ceremony. Also, he said the school is working to help the current seniors apply for student aid through FAFSA as a part of the school’s curriculum.
Next Meeting The next work session will occur on Thursday, February 16, at 5 p.m., while the next meeting will be Tuesday, February 21, at 6 p.m.