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MCBOE Turns Focus to Safety

During a called meeting on Thursday, June 1, the Montgomery County Board of Education listened to a presentation by Assistant Superintendent Brian Barnhill on some needed safety upgrades in the school system.

According to Barnhill, the Montgomery County School System received $150,000 through Gover nor Kemp’s School Safety Grant, which gave each individual school $50,000 to upgrade its safety measures. Barnhill explained that he had discussed the safety needs of each building – the elementary school and the middle/ high school – with the principals, and the team had developed proposed changes to the facilities.

Middle/High School

Barnhill informed the Board that Montgomery County Middle/High School Principal Scott Barrow requested that a portion of the funds be used to construct a brick wall around the patio area outside of the school cafeteria, where many students choose to eat their lunches.

Barnhill explored the possibilities of the idea, putting out a request for proposals for the project. Only one proposal was received, which stated that a wall – 8 feet in height, 2 feet in width, and 40 feet in length – could be completed for $43,950.

Bulletproof glass in the office and lobby areas of the school entrances was determined to be another necessary upgrade. The windows in front of the receptionists in the offices may receive bulletproof glass and the glass surrounding the lobby may receive flex film, which is shatterproof glass, for a price of $37,093, ac cording to Barnhill.

Another desired safety upgrade to the campus is the installation of a fence between U.S. Highway 280 and the school grounds.

For $5,190 total, a 6-foot- tall fence with a double access gate for necessary entry from the roadway may be installed at the school.

Barnhill also looked into the installation of a block wall and door insert between the school system’s alternative school and the Eagle Academy. This project is expected to cost $2,000 total.

All of these upgrades have been approved to be funded through the state grant, which allocates $100,000 for the middle/ high school campus. The project is expected to be completed within four to six weeks from the date of approval by the Board, or by the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year. These proposals will be formally presented to the Board at the regular monthly meeting on June 20. If all of these upgrades are approved, $88,183 of the $100,000 allocation will be spent.

Elementary School

According to Barnhill, a portion of the $50,000 allocated for the elementary school is being used for the replacement of fencing around the perimeter of the campus at Montgomery County Elementary School and Little Eagle Learning Center. The Board previously approved the $18,776 project.

Another proposed use of the elementary school allocation is to erect fencing between Heartland Academy and the Little Eagle Learning Center, which share a campus with the Montgomery County Elementary School. This fencing is expected to cost $10,000, and will match the black vinyl fencing that lines the perimeter of the campus.

School officials are hopeful of using an estimat- ed $8,000 to install security cameras on four buses that transport elementary students, which was requested by Director of Transportation Reggie Ricks.

These upgrades will be proposed at the regular monthly meeting of the Board on June 20. If approved, these improvements will account for $37,776 of the grant.

Other Safety Upgrades

Previously, the school system received $40,000 to spend on safety updates to the school facilities across all three campuses, Barnhill explained. A portion of this funding was used to purchase vape detectors for the Montgomery County Middle/High School Campus, while the majority of the grant has been devoted to the installation of a keyless entry system at the Montgomery County Elementary School, Middle/ High School, and Board of Education office.

This system will allow faculty and staff to use keychains, badges, and even their phones to unlock the school, rather than having to carry a key. The installation of this system is expected to be completed over Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, and any costs not covered by the previous $40,000 grant may be covered by the remaining funds from the Montgomery County El- ementary School's $50,000 safety grant.

Other Action Items

Digital Platform

Also approved was a digital finance and human resource platform for the school system at cost of $118,000 over a three-year contract. Board Administrative Assistant Mylinda Moore and other financial and human resource officials in the Board office recently traveled to Appling County Schools where they were able to see how the system is utilized and managed. The group favored the platform and is excited to put it to use.


Several personnel changes were approved.

The resignation of Alternative School Teacher/Coach Brandon Edmond and termination of Elementary School custodian Carolyn Moore were approved.

The following new hires were approved: John Holder – custodian; John Gilreath – bus driver; Malory Corley – Middle/ High School Family Consumer Science teacher; Michelle May – Middle/ High School English Language Arts teacher; Justin Sheppard – Credit Recovery teacher/coach; Johnnie Snead – Elementary School custodian; Amanda Odom – Elementary School paraprofessional; Tyler Tanner – Elementary School ISS teacher; Emma McCoy – Little Eagle Learning Center paraprofessional; Marlee Powell – Kindergarten paraprofessional; Ginger Morris – 48% School Improvement Specialist.

Several current staff members were also approved to be transferred to new positions. Jessica Ward will now work at the Little Eagle Learning Center; Daniel “Bo” Boatright will serve as the head High School boys basketball coach; Kera Nobles will teach pre-k; and Kristen Garland will work as 50% School Food Nutrition Director and 50% School Level Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE)Supervisor.

Field Trips

The Board approved three field trips for Varsity Basketball summer camps.

Playground Update

Board member Fernando Rodriguez discussed the need for new picnic tables and playground equipment for the lower school area of the Montgomery County Elementary School. Assistant Superintendent Beverly Faircloth agreed that this upgrade is needed, and the Board requested that Barnhill seek quotes for these changes to be approved at the upcoming Board meeting.

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