Cobb ‘super’ wants to hire 30 teachers

While the Cobb County School Board typically doesn’t vote until their night meetings each month, Cobb Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa said he will be asking the board to approve the addition of 30 new teachers in Cobb during the Wednesday work session to help relieve some of the overcrowding in classrooms.

“Those middle school classes are just so big, and we had a lot more kids than expected,” Hinojosa said. “We need the teachers now, so we’ll ask for approval now.”

In other news, the board will also talk about approving the reduction of one furlough day for educators, but Hinojosa will not be asking for approval of that until the board’s Sept. 27 regular meeting.

Initial enrollment figures for Cobb Schools, which were calculated after the first two weeks of schools, showed that they have 105, 757 students, or about 1,364 more than projected, putting some classes in the district way above their average teacher/student ratio, specifically in 12 of Cobb’s 25 middle schools where some classes have anywhere from 36 to 44 students in a room.

The district will spend about $2.2 million to hire the additional teachers. Hinojosa said Monday that Cobb Schools will use money from the district’s Fund Balance but will get that money back from the state after they turn their enrollment figures in October and again March.

“We’ll get reimbursed most of that because our enrollment is so much higher, but we won’t get it until the end of the (school) year,” he said.

Hinojosa also said the district should have most applications “on hand” to fill these allotted positions but that there may be a few tough areas that may be harder to fill.

“We need to hustle in some areas, but in others we’ll have plenty of applicants,” he said.

Another expense the board will be considering is about $3 million in funds to reduce the number of furlough days approved in the FY13 budget from three to two.

“We have a lot of great staff, and it was a tough budget year but we think we can get the money because we had a significant surplus for (FY12),” Hinojosa said. “In other words, we spent less money than we budgeted. Our teachers and our staff work so hard, we wanted to buy back one furlough day this year.”

Hinojosa said that with the district looking at having about $10 million in surplus, they should be able to easily take $3 million from that to give teachers back a furlough day. The district won’t know for sure until December after the audit is complete how much money will be available.

The proposed furlough days for 2012-13 are Dec. 21; Feb. 15, 2013; and May 30, 2013. Hinojosa anticipates returning the third day to teachers.

The board will also continue their postponed discussion about censuring David Banks, using retired administrators for education tribunals, the superintendent’s evaluation document and using SPLOST funds for Cobb’s charter schools.

The discussion about censuring Banks was delayed at the August work session because board member Kathleen Angelucci said she wanted all board members present and Lynnda Eagle was absent.

Eagle, who requested the board use retired administrators from outside Cobb to participate in tribunals, said at the August night meeting that she only wanted the district to use them when they are unable to get three board members to sit in on the timely hearings.

Vice chair David Morgan has requested the board also discuss Hinojosa’s annual evaluation so that it includes more information on student achievement and the overall success of the district.

Southwest Cobb’s Tim Stultz said he requested the board talk about the use of SPLOST funds with charter schools.

“I do not know if the district has used SPLOST funds for charter schools in the past. Representatives at International Academy of Smyrna communicated that they were interested in participating in the new SPLOST proposal, so the discussion is to determine what needs they and the other charters may have, and to determine what may be included in the notebook,” he said Monday.

Additionally during Hinojosa’s report, the board will hear more about the $25 million Race to the Top grant deadline, get an update on the Strategic Plan and review new information about the SPLOST IV notebook of projects the board is anticipated to vote on sometime in November and December and put before the voters in March 2013.

In other business, the board will talk about approving:

n A $900,000 contract with LMI Systems to purchase and install a security camera and surveillance system. The contract would run between Oct. 1 and Sept. 30, 2013, and be funded by SPLOST III.

n The newly revised Strategic Plan’s format, which includes key strategies, key actions, long and short range targets.

n A board resolution certifying the FY14 State Capital Outlay Project application with which the state would reimburse the district up to $8.3 million for construction projects as they are completed.

n A $237,250 contract for residential placement of a student to receive a Fair and Appropriate Public Education. According to the agenda, the student requires help around the clock.

n A $300,000 contract for nursing services for “medically fragile students.” According to the agenda, the Request for Proposal was originally awarded in June 2010 and the service will provide help for students who exhibit “sporadic” attendance because of their individual health conditions.

This contract will run between Oct. 1 and Sept. 30, 2013.

n A Memorandum of Approval between Cobb County Schools, the Georgia Department of Education and Brumby, Hayes, Riverside Intermediate and Sanders elementary and East Cobb Middle schools, which were identified by the state as “focus schools” last spring.

There is no cost associated with the contract and this will allot each school to “receive additional support from the state through the Metro Regional Educational Service Area as well as the local school district,” according to the agenda.

n A new name for the newly constructed Smyrna Elementary School off Fleming Street in Smyrna. The board will choose between Jonquil Elementary, Marion Worley Mitchell Elementary or Smyrna Elementary. The name selection committee has recommended the board name the school Smyrna Elementary School.

The board meeting, which is open to the public, will begin at 8:30 a.m. with public comments and is held in the school district’s boardroom at 540 Glover St. in Marietta.

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal, September 11, 2012. Written by Lindsay Field. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Cobb ‘super’ wants to hire 30 teachers )

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