Towns County and State Election Results 2018

Election 2018

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Renovation to begin at Towns County School

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Towns County Schools

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Renovation to Towns County School is scheduled to begin after graduation May 18, says Towns County Superintendent Darren Berrong. The 40-year-old school buildings are in desperate need of roof replacement, upgraded wiring, and HVAC systems.

The Towns County Board of Education applied for a $3.3 million modernization grant in 2017, based on an estimate from Robertson Loia Roof, an architectural firm located in Alpharetta, Georgia. Due to the true cost of the renovation, amounting to $4.3 million, the school board has since decided to delay the wiring process, which includes LED lighting, until next year, when additional Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds become available.

During the summer, a heating unit will be installed in the elementary school gym, drop celings will be added to support the addition of larger HVAC units – along with the HVAC system themselves – and the roof will be replaced. The cost associated with the planned construction amounts to $3.6 million. Towns County School will pay the contractors, then submit the bills to the state for reimbursement. The timetable for reimbursement is unclear at this time.

In the event of a budget overage, Berrong says SPLOST funds will be used to avoid a shortage to school operating costs and payroll while awaiting reimbursement.

Renovation is expected to commence shortly after graduation in order for construction to be completed before the 2018-2019 school year begins. The final phase of renovation is expected to conclude by the end of July, with time to reorganize classrooms before the next school year takes effect.

Towns County School qualified for the state modernization grant due to the age of the buildings, and the Board of Education believes the renovations are well-warranted.

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Board of Education candidate advocates for mental health

Election 2018
Brandi Rutan

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Board of Education Post 2 candidate, Bradi Rutan, introduced herself to the community at the weekly meeting of Mountain Movers & Shakers April 27, 2018.

Rutan, a mother of two students, said she will bring her experience as a mental health professional to the school board if elected. The licensed clinical social worker’s merits include 14 years of history working in the adolescent and geriatric psychiatric fields.

Bentley Floyd

Bentley Floyd opened the meeting with an engaging speech on robotics.

“My background is in mental health. Not that I want to impose mental health in the school system, but I think that having someone inclined and trained in the mental health area can be beneficial in Towns County Schools,” Rutan stated.

The social worker spoke in favor of Avita Community Partners, a public agency formed in 1993 by the Georgia Legislature to address the mental health needs of both children and adults in 13 northeast Georgia counties.

“Mental health is a huge area of need that I think needs to be more established in the schools,” Rutan continued. “I feel the most important role (for board members) is being the ears of the entire community and advocating for the needs to the members of the school board.”

The candidate also noted the economic struggles many families and students in the area face, saying she feels that schools should be a “safety zone” for children.

The primary election takes place May 22, 2018.

Tamie Bradley, of Young Harris, will appear on the ballot, vying for Post 2 as well.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Five candidates qualify for Towns County Board of Education

Election 2018

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The qualification period for three seats on the  Towns County Board of Education came to a close at noon Friday, March 9, 2018.

 

Post 1 – Macedonia

Robert C. Williams  (incumbent)

Steve Green

 

Post 2 – Young Harris

Brandi Rutan

Tamie Bradley

 

Post 3 – Hiawassee

Stan Chastain  (incumbent)

 

The General and  Nonpartisan Primaries will be held May 22, 2018.

The General Election will take place Nov. 6, 2018.

 

Follow FetchYourNews for continued coverage as Election 2018 advances.

 

 

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Towns County BOE budget amended

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Towns County Board of Education

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Board of Education recently amended their 2018 budget due to receipt of federal and state funding, resulting in a $2,501,917 increase. According to the Board, the change will not affect local taxpayers.

“After the budget was completed, the Board was approved for a modernization grant,” Financial Director Myra Underwood explained. “Because we received such a large amount, we went ahead and amended all of the changes. This is all federal or state money and has nothing to do with raising local taxes.”

The changes are listed as follows:

Modernization Grant  

Original Budget: $1,000,000

Amendment #1: $3,262,301

Change: $2,262,301

 

21st Century

Original Budget: $0

Amendment #1: $310,255

Change: $310,255

 

Title I

Original Budget: $324,546

Amendment #1: $280,690

Change: ($43,856)

 

Title II

Original Budget: $45,332

Amendment #1: $33,893

Change: ($11,439)

 

Flow Through

Original Budget: $217,435

Amendment #1: $209,017

Change: ($8,418)

 

Rural Grant

Original Budget: $25,132

Amendmaent #1: $18,206

Change: ($6,926)

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

 

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Towns County Board of Education Awards Teachers of the Year

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Towns County Teacher of the Year

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Board of Education met for their regular session on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. Three educators were presented with Teacher of the Year awards by Superintendent Dr. Darren Berrong for their contributions. Recommendations of recognition were submitted by their peers.

Debi Williams, Chris Vardo, and Brooke Whitt were accorded with awards of achievement.

Ms. Williams was granted the highest honor of System Teacher of the Year.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

 

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Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

BOE: Towns County Schools Closed for Eclipse

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Towns County Board of Education

Hiawassee, GA – At Monday’s Board of Education work session, Superintendent Dr.Darren Berrong announced Towns County schools will close on Monday, August 21, due to the highly anticipated Great American Eclipse.

There was prior discussion to release students at noon, but the Board agreed a full day is in the best interest of students and staff. It will be treated as a weather event.

The school’s parking lot will be available for parking to compensate for anticipated overflow at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds. A nominal parking fee will be implemented although the amount has yet to be determined.

The possibility of allowing camping on school grounds was previously considered. However, the liability was determined high risk. Concerns of alcohol, potential illicit activity, and damage to school grounds were cited.

In other news, Dr. Berrong said the first day of school, which began on August 3, ran “unbelievably smooth…The smoothest first day I can remember.”  

Dr. Berrong also noted Towns County’s milestone test scores are currently 76% while the state average is 59% and 12 out of 17 objectives have been met. Dr. Berrong included high school scores are a “vast improvement” in comparison to the previous year.

21st Century Director, Jenny Stowers, presented an evaluation report on the after school program which shed light on a 96% satisfaction rate among parents of the students involved.

A 21st Century Grant Award in the amount of $310,255 was accepted by Board members for funding.

The 21st Century program is in its tenth year of operation and offered to students at no charge. This year’s program begins on August 14 and 220 students applied for the 200 available spots which has resulted in a waiting list for acceptance.

Recommendations on the following positions were unanimously approved by the Board:

Assistant Middle School Softball Coach — Madison Landers
Head Middle School Wrestling Coach — Clay Worley
Middle School Cheerleading Coach — Lesley Kelly
Special Education Paraprofessional — Victoria Figg
Elementary Physical  Education Teacher — Chase Phillips

The contract between Towns County School District and Towns County Sheriff’s Office will continue for sporting events at an agreed rate of $75.00 per game.

The Board’s session closed with discussion of a meeting which took place between Board of Education members and former Hiawassee Mayor Pro Tem, Liz Ordiales. Ordiales suggested a work based plan which would encourage students to learn skills relevant to the county’s business needs.

The Board voiced concern most students likely strive for higher aspirations than local employment opportunities provide, but also noted the potential for advancement through entry level positions. It wasn’t clear whether a program of this nature will be adopted.

Liz Ordiales, who was not present at the meeting, stepped down from the City Council on August 4 in order to run for Mayor in the November election.

The Board of Education will meet for their regular monthly session on Monday, August 14, at Towns County Middle School.

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Towns County Board of Education approves FY 2018 Budget; resignation of TCHS Spanish teacher still an issue

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Hiawassee, GA – Towns County Board of Education (TCBOE) convened on Monday, June 12 at 7 p.m. at the TC Middle School Auditorium for their June Meeting. Towns County Schools (TCS) Superintendent Dr. Darren Berrong and all Board Members were present.

Dr. Berrong and TCBOE

The TCS FY 2018 Budget, after the prescribed waiting period, was unanimously approved by the Board. Along with that, the Salary/Supplement Schedules were also unanimously approved.

In his Superintendent Report, Dr. Berrong reiterated from the last Work Session the serious concern raised by the resignation of Jennifer Hogsed, the sole HS Spanish teacher. Dr. Berrong said that a communication had been sent out to all surrounding School Districts requesting information on possible Spanish teachers. He pledged to keep the Board and the General Public informed on this issue.

The Board approved the disposition of the following cafeteria equipment, which has long been in need of replacement:
• Two Hobart Convection Stack Ovens purchased in 1998
• Four Dell CPU-Line Machine Computers not compatible with Cafeteria software purchased in May 2002

The Board approved the School Nutrition Program Vendor List for FY 2018:
• Bread Bid – Bimbo Bakeries
• Milk Bid – Mayfield
• Paper and Disposable Goods – American Paper and Twine
• Chemical Bid – SFSPac
• Produce Bid – Foster’s Produce (in conjunction with Union county)
• Fresh Delivered Pizza – Domino’s Smart Slice (in conjunction with Union county)
• Processing of USDA items:
• Chicken – Gold Kist
• Cheese – JTM, Nardones
• Ground Beef – JTM
• Pork – Brookwood Barbeque

New Band Director Allison Arnold

The Board also approved the following:
• Towns County Family Connection FY 2018 Contract
• Resignations of:
o MS Science teacher Emily Hamilton
o HS Spanish teacher Jennifer Hogsed
o HS English teacher Amanda Housley
o HS Special Education Paraprofessional Carol Ramsak
• Recommendations of/for:
o Pat Coleman for Maintenance/Custodian Supervisor as of July 1, 2017
o Alan Rogers for Maintenance/Custodian Manager as of July 1, 2017
o Trena Silvey, Chelsi George, Cheryl Peebles and Jennie Cook as Paraprofessionals
o Stephanie Youngblood for Elementary School Teacher
o Allison Arnold as Band Director
o Alexia Chandler as Elementary School Art Teacher
o Royce Nicholson as Transportation Assistant
o Rachel Surles as High School English Teacher

With no further business to conduct and no Closed Session called for, the Meeting adjourned.

 

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