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Couey’s remaining with the school system fulltime to perform a number of roles, including grant writing and overseeing human resources, payroll, and technology responsibilities. Both changes will take effect on July 1, at the beginning of the new fiscal year. Couey’s current contract ends June 30. She has served as superintendent since 2017.

Floyd joined the Wheeler County School System part-time this year after retiring as principal of Bleckley County Primary School where he served for many years. He earned an associate degree from Middle Georgia College at Cochran and a bachelor’s degree from Georgia College and State University at Milledgeville. He later earned a doctorate from the University of the Cumberlands based in Kentucky.

Floyd’s career in education began with a teaching position at Middle Georgia Wilderness Institute, a private facility in Bleckley County for troubled youth. He taught middle school math and science in Houston County until 2005, and then took on the jobs of assistant principal and principal in Bleckley County, where he retired after 16 years of service.

The search for the new superintendent will follow a formal process as the Board advertises for candidates and begins interviews, striving to have a new superintendent in place for the new term that starts on August 5. Driver Fees Approved

The Board also approved bus driver fees being paid to coaches who drive teams to games and other events, rather than requiring coaches to obtain CDL licenses. “I recommend we pay coaches whatever a driver’s salary would be for a trip, which is what most surrounding counties do,” Couey noted. Driver fees for extracurricular trips are calculated on a scale based on trip mileage.

Fiber Optic Lines, Sidewalk Work

Couey reported that the installation of fiber optic lines at the school system’s Agriculture facility on Oxford Road is almost complete. The project, which is being funded through a state grant, will afford reliable internet connections for classes and events at the facility, and allow for restrooms to be fitted with vape detectors. continued from page

In a separate project on which Couey updated the Board, the System has completed the addition of sidewalks to provide handicapped access to the football stadium restrooms and to the school’s greenhouse. Repaving a driveway entrance that was removed as part of the work on Wheeler Street behind the new school was also included in the project. The work was done by Anderson Concrete at a cost of $17,228.50, and funded with capital outlay revenue. The System recently installed aluminum seating at the stadium as part of its improvement plan. The bleachers, which cost $40,000, replaced aging wooden seating and were installed by system staff.

Demolition of Old Elementary School The fate of the old Wheeler Elementary school, which was vacated in 2022 when the county activated the new K-12 facility, still hangs in the balance. The Board has considered several options for the school, which is costly to maintain even as it sits unused. Tearing down the facility is also an expensive proposition since asbestos abatement will be required in some areas of the 60,000-square-foot structure.

The school complex, which occupies a 15-acre site in Alamo, was built in stages from 1957 to 2004. The district is considering retaining part of the complex for possible future growth, but demolishing older sections. The school’s gymnasium, which is still utilized, and bus yard facilities will not be impacted in potential future demolition under current plans.

During the April Board session, Couey announced that she has obtained an RFP (Request for Proposal) for the demolition of the school. “That process will be very detailed, including being posted on the state procurement registry for 28 days and a whole bid evaluation process (similar to a construction project). I recommend we wait to initiate that after a new superintendent is in place so we won’t be in the middle of it during the transition.”

The Board has sought public input for the past several months regarding a new purpose for the old elementary school, and has also reached out to contractors regarding demolition. No one has come forward with an offer to purchase the property, so far. Meanwhile, maintenance costs amounting to $4,000 a month for utilities alone, which are being paid through the system’s general fund, continue to make the property more of a liability than an asset.

Alternative School Students Couey told the Board that she is still communicating with Dr. Stan Rentz, Superintendent of Montgomery County Schools, regarding partnering with that district to serve Wheeler’s alternative students next school year. Alternative students were moved to the K-12 campus in January of 2024 and have been housed in a separate suite, but school and district administrators prefer for students to be housed in another location. The Montgomery County Board of Education, which also met April 8, was to take up the student relocation matter at that session.

Employee Actions

The Board approved the following employee changes: Sharon Phillips, administrative assistant, will assume the Accounts Payable role with an increase in salary for assuming additional duties; Robin Baker and Ashley Wooten were hired as Wheeler County Elementary School teachers for SY25; Emily Knowles was hired as a Wheeler County High School (WCHS) science teacher for SY25; Marvin Howard was hired as a substitute bus driver; and Riley Rothwell and Michaela Lann were hired as classroom substitutes pending background checks and necessary certification course completion.

The Board accepted the resignations of Angie Smith, WCES RTI Coordinator, Curtis Wells, bus shop employee, and Christie Jones, paraprofessional, who are retiring.

The Board also accepted the resignation of Wheeler County Middle School (WCMS) Principal Ginger Horne, who will assume the role of Family and Consumer Sciences teacher in the new term. Shonda McFadden, current Family and Consumer Sciences teacher, will assume duties of School Nutrition director and continue to teach Early Childhood Care and Education Pathway courses. Horne previously served as School Nutrition director for several years. She stepped into the principal’s position at WCMS this term after serving as assistant principal under WCHS Principal William Bell.

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