The school system should receive word within a few weeks on final approval of a FEMA grant to fund a classroom addition at DeKalb West School, including eight tornado "safe rooms"
M2U00733 from dwayne page on Vimeo.
David Brown of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones & Morris Architects of Mount Juliet updated the school board during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night. "We actually had nine of these grants go through and get approved, yours being one of them. Three of them have come back from Atlanta already, getting approved and monies becoming available. I've spoken with the state and there is one more (grant application) ahead of you guys at the moment and then you guys are next. I expect monies becoming available for our DeKalb West project, probably in August. Nobody will swear to the date at all. They won't commit in any way but its encouraging to see the ones who have already gone down there and gone through the process and have come back actually quicker than I expected. We've already dotted all the I's and crossed all the T's and we're just waiting for it to go through the machine if you will. Meanwhile our roofing expert spent a day with Earl (Jared) and looked at the roofing jobs that you've got coming and all of those look very straight forward and easy to do so whenever you turn us loose on that we'll be able to have those ready to bid in no time at all and we'll be ready to start DeKalb West as well," said Brown.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has already approved grant funds of more than $1.5 million for the safe room project at DeKalb West School, pending final approval by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The spending plan calls for $600,000 in local funding to meet a 12.5% FEMA grant match for building eight tornado "safe rooms" at DeKalb West School. The proposed addition would be constructed in the front of the school, including eight classrooms, restrooms, a new secure entrance, an office, clinic, conference room, guidance and teacher work area.
The county commission, Monday night, July 23, is expected to approve funding for the plan when it adopts budgets for the 2012-13 school year. A proposed $3.4 million note would cover the $600,000 grant match for the safe room project along with an $850,000 cafeteria and kitchen renovation project at DeKalb West School; a $1.1 million DeKalb Middle School roof project (roof and removal of metal overhang soffit), a $700,000 DeKalb West School roof project (roof and removal of metal overhang soffit and seal off gymnasium); and an $85,000 Smithville Elementary School roof project (8,000 square feet of the roof).
Meanwhile, in other business the board of education Tuesday night voted to sign up for a new program offered by TVA through its local distributors that uses a conglomerate of customers to ease electric load at peak times - typically in the height of summer - when demand for power can outstrip supply. By participating, the school system would receive financial incentives.
Under the TVA-EnerNOC Demand Response Program, school officials would be notified to reduce power consumption at any school building that qualifies. Locally, the high school, middle school, and possibly Northside elementary might be eligible for the program which could result in a possible curtailment of power by as much as 250 kilowatts combined.
Eligible customers not only save energy and earn money, but help support the reliability of the local electric grid and help maintain affordable electricity across the Tennessee Valley region by their participation.
Under the program, a team would identify the schools energy reduction potential, outline these measures in a detailed energy reduction plan, and install necessary metering devices to monitor energy consumption levels in real time. "The real plus to this is them coming in and telling us the areas that are using the most electricity and it not costing us anything for them giving us a prescription for it," said Director Mark Willoughby.
Maintenance Supervisor Earl Jared said while the program sounds like a good idea, it might not be feasible to implement it in the local school system. "It would be great", said Jared. "But if you can't shut enough (power) down to participate, then its going to be hard to do. It takes about 100 tons of cooling to shut down (qualify). We only have that much in a couple of buildings (DCHS and DMS). That might be all that qualifies," he said
Peak power demands usually occur during the afternoon and the school system could be asked to reduce power usage at a time when school or summer school is still in session. "They're going to call you about two o'clock in the afternoon and want you to shut down (reduce power) for about four hours," said Jared. "Then its going to get hotter (inside the buildings) from there on out. I'm not sure it would even be feasible to do it," he said.
Even when the call is placed to the school system to reduce power usage during peak demand, Director Willoughby said school officials could choose not to comply on that day, if there is some reason. But Jared pointed out that if the school system opted out too many times, it could be dropped from the program.
Since there is no cost to the school system to participate, Director Willoughby recommended giving it a try. "I'd rather to do it and if we can we will and if we can't do it we're not losing anything," he said.
DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps reported that Freshman Orientation is scheduled for July 30. "Our Freshman Orientation will be Monday, July 30. Students can be dropped off at 4:00 p.m. and parents can come back at 6:00 p.m.. We'll do orientation with them (students) and they can get their schedules. Freshmen students who do come on this date will not have to come to our half day registration on August 2. On July 26 & 27, new student registration will be held from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. That applies to new students in the county. This does not apply to new students coming to the high school from the middle school or the west school. Its just new students to our county. Also on July 26 & 27, grades 10, 11, & 12 can pick up their schedules between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. but they will still need to attend on that half day of registration," said Cripps.
Randy Jennings, Principal at DeKalb Middle School, said sixth grade orientation will be July 31. "Our sixth grade orientation at the middle school is July 31, which is on Tuesday night. We will be doing a call home to the students to let them know which students are to come at what time. We have two different groups who come. Seventh and eighth graders will register on August 2," he said.
Clay Farler, Attendance Supervisor, said parents may still enroll their children in pre-kindergarten."We had our pre-k registration on Monday. We had fewer to initially register this year than we had in the past so at the moment it looks like we still may have some openings. Several people came in today to register so if you would like to come by my office and pick up your registration papers, you're encouraged to do that, especially those of you who live in the west school area. We were lower there (on numbers) than we have been in recent years. Hopefully other people who were not able to come Monday will be able to come and register their students," he said.
Dee Anna Reynolds of the Coordinated School Health Program, reminded parents to make sure their children have all immunizations up to date. "I want to remind parents that there is still time to get their children's immunizations current and up to date and let them know that we will be at the middle school August 2 during registration to check on immunizations. If those are not current those students will not be allowed to come into school until those are updated. The two main shots that we will be looking for are the Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis booster ("Tdap") and then there's a second dose of Varivax which is chicken pox or the parent can show proof that the child has had chicken pox if they do not have that second dose. We're also working with Mr. Farler with the pre-k registration now and checking those immunizations as well. For students who were in sixth grade last year and going into the seventh grade this year, letters were sent home for the first time prior to spring break hoping that would give parents that week while the children were off on spring break to get those (immunizations). Nurses went back and checked those again and a second letter was sent home the week before school was out so that they would have the summer to work on getting those immunizations current and up to date. There is still time now, if they have not had time to get those (immunizations) taken care of. There is still time to do that even with their private physician, medical doctor, or health department. We're also going forward with the back pack program again this year. We hope that we'll be able to feed kids every weekend as long as supplies and volunteers last. If anybody is interested in helping us with that give us a call with the coordinated school health program," said Reynolds.
Stephanie Dyer, School Nutrition Supervisor, reminded parents about making application for the free and reduced price lunch program "I want to remind all the parents that the free and reduced applications will be available in the students' packets and if they are not there, then you can get them in the teacher's classrooms or in the office. Please fill it out correctly. The instructions will be available on our website under lunch menu. That is the DeKalb County School website. Make sure you sign and put the last four digits of the parent's social security number on the back. Also make sure you check the NO income box, just in case. We're looking forward to Education Celebration and I want to tell all the parents to please come out to have some watermelon with us," said Dyer.
Meanwhile, Julie Vincent, Principal at Smithville Elementary School, reported that preparations are being made for the start of school there. "Things are really shaping up at Smithville Elementary School. The custodians are working super hard at getting the floors stripped and waxed. There's been a lot of painting that's gone on. I'd like to thank Mr (Randy) Jennings for loaning us one of his custodians to come over and help us get the floors done correctly. There's lots of good positive changes and I've had lots of great comments from teachers that have come in the classrooms already to work and move furniture. They just seem real excited. Its been real positive so far. Things will be all set to go come August 2 for registration and August 6 for the first full day," she said.
Director Willoughby also presented his monthly report on personnel to the board.
Those employed since the last meeting are as follows:
Nicole Reese, teacher at DCHS (math)
Brittany Allen-teacher at DCHS
Marilyn Roberts-teacher at DCHS
Ashlee Thomason- teacher at Smithville Elementary School
Heather Shehane-teacher at Smithville Elementary School
Megan Pack-teacher at Northside Elementary School
Jalene Vanatta-teacher at DeKalb West School
Julie Styler-special education teacher at Northside Elementary School
Amee Cantrell- transferred to a special education teaching position at DCHS
Amanda Mullinax-transferred from teacher position to librarian at DeKalb West School
Lindsey Holmes- transferred from teacher position at DeKalb West School to Smithville Elementary School
Sue Close- transferred from substitute teacher to English as a Second Language (ESL) assistant at Northside Elementary School
Mandi Dakas- transferred from teacher position to Assistant Principal at DeKalb Middle School
Beth Pafford- transferred from teacher position to Assistant Principal at Northside Elementary School
Lorie Isabell-transferred to Smithville Elementary School as special education teacher
Betsye Walker- transferred to part-time Northside Elementary School special education teacher position
Lisa Peterson- transferred from Educational Assistant Job Coach position to teacher at DeKalb West School
Melinda Lattimore- transferred from Smithville Elementary to Northside Elementary School
Teresa Sullivan- transferred from DeKalb Middle School/DCHS to Smithville Elementary School
Paulette McDonald-transferred from DeKalb Middle School to DCHS
Anna Johnson, teacher at Smithville Elementary School
Shawn Baker, teacher at DeKalb West School
Cheryl Vance, teacher at Northside Elementary School