September 11, 2023
Dalton Board of Education
Dalton Board of Education
September 11, 2023 – Board Highlights (not official minutes)
Members Present: Matt Evans, Sam Sanders, Tulley Johnson, Jody McClurg and Manny Meza
Special Called Meeting
Taxpayer Bill of Rights
Theresa Perry, chief financial officer, presented the first and second of three Public Hearings on the millage rate for Fiscal Year 2024 at 8 AM and 6 PM. She shared the distribution of general fund expenditures, showing that 84 percent of the budget is dedicated towards staff salary and benefits. Mrs. Perry also showed the division of funding from federal, state and local sources in Dalton compared to the average Georgia school district. She shared that the percentage of funding from local dollars in Dalton Public Schools has decreased over time, and remains lower than the state average
For FY24, Mrs. Perry said that the average property assessed values in Dalton are increasing by 14 percent. She also shared that if the board approved a final millage rate of 8.000 mills, it would be the third consecutive year that the board reduced the millage rate. With the tentative millage rate of 8.000 mills, the net growth would be around 20 percent. Click here to view the entire presentation.
If you are interested in learning more, there will be one additional presentation of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights on Tuesday, September 19 at 6:30 PM. The hearing will take place at City Hall (300 W Waugh Street) in the Council Chambers.
Instructional Coaching Update
Brandi Moore, executive director of teaching and learning, introduced Laure Esters and Elizabeth Cox, two district specialists who are working closely with instructional coaches, for them to share an update on the district’s instructional coaching. Mrs. Cox and Mrs. Esters shared that coaching is focused on student testing data. Coaches work with teachers to help them understand their data and how to make progress with students. Mrs. Moore shared that student-centered coaching is primarily focused on student achievement. The board received a handout sharing data that measures the impact of student-centered coaching.
2023 Data Update
Superintendent Tim Scott shared that the district is still waiting on graduation rates and finalized data in preparation for the Board Academic Retreat scheduled for November. However, he shared highlights from several schools that scored higher than the State and the Northwest Georgia RESA (Regional Education Services Agency) averages in various content areas. The district as a whole has improved 5 percent in content mastery since 2021.
Facilities and Capital Projects Update
Rusty Lount, director of maintenance, shared that Dalton High School is almost completely finished, and he expects that they will be working on a punch-list within the next few weeks. Mr. Lount also said that the Park Creek gym floor replacement is almost completed, and students are already able to play on it. He said he hopes to have more information to share about the project at Roan School within the next few days.
Dr. Scott shared that the district’s current enrollment is at 7,760 students, which is 44 students fewer than the end of the last school year. He said that the district started the year with 103 fewer students than the end of last year, so the number is continuing to grow as the school year progresses.
Potential to Bring Transportation In-House
The board discussed the potential opportunity to bring bus transportation in-house. Mrs. Perry shared that the district would need to borrow money in order to purchase the buses and property required to bring transportation in-house. The plan includes the purchase of used buses of varying ages to address replacement needs.
Mrs. Perry shared that the district is unable to borrow money on its own, and would need to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Dalton to borrow the funds. The district will be meeting with the city’s finance committee on Thursday to discuss this potential agreement.
Board members asked if the district would be able to shift from a three-tier schedule of transportation to a two-tier schedule if busing were brought in-house. Currently, any minor delay in the first tier can cause significant delays by the time Hammond Creek Middle School, the last tier, dismisses students. Mrs. Perry shared moving to a two-tier system would be possible, but would significantly reduce the amount of cost-savings to the district.
If the district remained on the current three-tier schedule, the initial borrow would be approximately $7 million, with an annual savings of $1 million once the debt is paid off in ten years. In the event that the district decided to move to a two-tier schedule, the initial borrow of funds would be closer to $13 million, with no initial cost-savings due to the need to purchase more buses and hire additional driving staff.
The next scheduled board meeting is a Special Called Meeting on Tuesday, September 19, at 6:30 PM. That meeting will take place in the City Hall Council Chambers.
Financial Reports for June and August
Mrs. Perry said that the auditors will be coming this week to review last year’s financial reports, and she will report any necessary changes to the board at the October meeting. However, so far all adjustments to the June report have been incremental. In August, the district received $138,000 in property tax revenue. The August ESPLOST sales tax revenue was $754,000 which was 11 percent higher than projected.
FY24 Georgia Department of Education Capital Outlay Projects
Dalton Public Schools has applied for and was approved by Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) for Capital Outlay funding in fiscal year 2025 in the amount of $4,205,422. Dalton Public Schools is now eligible to receive funding for improvements to The Dalton Academy/Dalton Junior High facility in the amount of $4,155,240 and for Dalton High School kitchen equipment in the amount of $50,182. The board voted to approve and accept the state funding for the planned projects.
Vice Chair Sam Sanders – Mr. Sanders said it has been a great start to the school year, and he has not heard any complaints, which indicates that things are going really well. He said he attended a school council meeting at Brookwood School, and they are doing great work there this year. Mr. Sanders also said he is excited to visit other schools and see how the rest of the year goes.
Tulley Johnson – Mr. Johnson said he attended a Dalton Education Foundation meeting and the foundation is doing well. He reminded everyone to attend the Paint the Town Red fundraising, which is scheduled for Burr Park on Friday, September 15.
Jody McClurg – Mrs. McClurg wanted to make sure that everyone was aware that the Dalton High Homecoming parade will start earlier than normal this year. Typically, the parade starts at 4 PM, but this year it will start at 3:30 PM. She also took a moment to recognize the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. She thanked everyone for their hard work to start this year.
Superintendent Tim Scott – Dr. Scott agreed with Mr. Sanders that this has been a great start to the school year. He said he is excited about the year to come and that he appreciates the work staff members are doing every day in schools. Dr. Scott said he knows the work is not easy, but he is appreciative.