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September 27, 2012 Issue

Bullies put on notice
BOE gets A1 rating for bond
Tower towed away

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Bullies put on notice

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Amid parental concerns about bullying at Glascock County Consolidated School, Superintendent Jim Holton told the school system’s board of education Thursday, Sept. 20, plans were already in place to address the issue.

“October is anti-bullying month,” he said. “Our teachers have prepared lessons for each week.”


The superintendent said there are age-appropriate booklets for the programs.

The school’s principal, Danny Lovering, said, “We don’t want any student to be uncomfortable.”

Lovering discussed concerns of parents about their children being bullied. The principal said he thinks it’s mainly that some of the students are being picked on.

“Bullying is when it’s continual,” he said. The principal also said it seems to be occurring mainly in the low elementary grades.

“It’s not like we’re having fights,” he said. “But we are concerned about it. We don’t want it to go on.”

He said he has told the teachers if they see any student putting their hands on another student, to write the student up so the issue can be addressed.

Lovering said he got on the intercom and made an announcement about the policy. “So the students know what to expect,” he said.

In a statement released Monday, Holton stated the school has adopted October as Bullying Prevention Month.

“We have school wide activities planned to enhance bullying awareness,” he stated. “These activities will provide students with answers to questions such as, ‘What is bullying? What does it look like?’”

Other questions Holton said the program will address will be the different types of bullying, what students should do if they are being bullied or witness someone else being bullied and how to respect others who are different or who may not be liked by others.

“Each student in grades kindergarten through 12 will receive a grade appropriate booklet of their own from which teachers will lead lessons, discussions and activities each week throughout October,” he said.

“Educational materials will be sent home to parents; and, at the end of the month, students will be able to take home their bullying booklet. Parents will be encouraged to review information delivered at school with their children at home,” Holton said.

The superintendent said other school-wide activities are planned for Bullying Prevention Month, including a daily intercom announcement with bullying facts and a parent workshop on bullying.

“At the end of the month, all students will sign a pledge to commit to help stop bullying. Through these activities, our goal is to strengthen our school community and make students accountable to each other. In such a connected environment, bullying is less likely to occur and more likely to be reported when it does. Staff members, students and parents are working together to make Glascock County School bully free,” he said.

Ann Cantrell, the school’s counselor, said Tuesday plans are still being made for the parent workshop.

“I don’t have all the details at this time; but, we plan to post the information on our website,” she said.

The school’s website is www.glascock.k12.ga.us. Additionally, Cantrell said parents can contact her at the school by calling 706-598-2121.

BOE gets A1 rating for bond

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Jefferson County School Board Chairman Jimmy Fleming and Jefferson County School Superintendent Dr. Molly Howard recently signed a bond purchase agreement.

The bonds will be used to fund the Louisville Academy project.


“In the spring of 2011, the Jefferson County Board of Education held public hearings and adopted a five-year facility plan, which included the construction of a new Louisville Academy,” stated Renee Weeks, the school system’s comptroller. “Since that time, administration has been planning for this new facility with James W. Buckley and Associates and Pope Construction.”

Weeks said that before the board can enter a construction contract, it must have funds available to finance the project.

“The board will utilize a combination of state construction funds and ESPLOST proceeds,” she stated.

“Since interest rates are currently so low, the board opted to bond $7 million towards the new Louisville Academy project to hedge against inflation. These bonds will be repaid using ESPLOST funds collected in July 2012 through June 2017,” she said.

Tom Owens, first vice president with Raymond James Morgan Keegan, said the school board has been planning this project for several years.

“The bonds were rated A1 by Moody’s Investor Service, which is an outstanding rating,” Owens said.

“Moody’s noted that the school district has maintained a sound financial position through its historical use of conservative budgeting despite multi-year funding reductions from the State of Georgia,” Owens said.

“Investors purchased the bonds at yields of 0.45 percent to 1.17 percent depending on the maturity rate. The overall interest rate was the lowest cost of funds that the school district has ever achieved on any of its financing,” he said.

“We’re very fortunate to get that rating; and, it lowers our bond payment,” said Jimmy Fleming, chairman of the Jefferson County School Board.

He said currently the bid process for the new school has not been completed.

“It looks like it’s going to be an exciting project,” he said. “It’s going to be a school that Louisville can enjoy for 50 or 60 more years.”

“The way the SPLOST works, they basically renew that in five-year increments,” Owens said. “If you include any bonds, you also have to include those in the ballot.”

He said he worked with the board staff to make sure the sales tax from the SPLOST would cover the payments on the bonds.

“That’s our goal,” he said.

“The final amount of the bond that they borrowed is $6,775,000. It’s a fixed rate. That rate is set; it will never increase. These bonds will be repaid entirely by the five-year sales tax,” he said, adding the last payment is due after the end of the SPLOST in order to allow for collection.

“The total interest over the five years is $632,948.75,” he said.

“We have done these types of issues for the school board all the way back to 1993. We have a long standing business relationship,” Owens said.

He said in 2008 and 2009 there were declines in the sales tax with modest growth since 2009.

“You’ve actually had some stabilization and modest growth,” he said.

“We planned and based our projections off of current sales tax collections, that being after the decline. So we were basing it off that lower number,” Owens said.

The bonds are general obligation bonds, he said.

“If the sales tax does come up short, ultimately a property tax could be levied to make up that. The last 12 months, ending April, have brought in almost $2.1 million; and, that’s just the school board’s portion,” he said.

“The annual payment on these bonds is just under $1.5 million. You have almost one and a half times to make the bond payment. You need a significant decline to where you’d ever have to levy that property tax,” he said.

Tower towed away

While a few citizens paused for a nostalgic moment, no crowd gathered to watch the old Wrens water tower as it was dismantled piece by rusted, corroded piece last Thursday morning. City Hall was protected from the showers of molten steel by water sprinklers on damp tarps as men wielding cutting torches dissected the great green tank roof first, working down.


City officials have been discussing the removal of the tower for years but announced a few months ago its intention to proceed with their plans. Mayor Lester Hadden said the tower was a danger to citizens, employees and city property looming over city hall. The tower was more than 80 years old and was part of the city’s original water system. The cost of removal was mitigated in part by giving the scrap metal from the tower itself to the company that cut it down.

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