Chief Financial Officer Kay Turner gave a PowerPoint presentation Monday on how the Douglas County School System hopes to possibly overcome reduced state funding and declining local tax digest revenue through advertising and sponsorship.
At the Board of Education meeting, she cited possible advertising and sponsorship opportunities in athletics and fine arts in locations such as stadiums, fields, auditoriums and cafeterias, as well as other areas such as the district’s website, newsletters, calendars and naming rights for buildings.
Turner said the next step would be for the board to develop requests for proposals for the program and for it to review its current policy—KJ: Advertising in Schools—and develop new administrative procedures to accompany the policy.
Board member Michael Miller of District 1 asked Turner how the money would be split. Turner said the school system would like to keep the funds in the same school where the advertising/sponsorship was generated.
“We’re looking at national companies, the Apples of the world and those kinds of companies,” she said.
District 3 board member Janet Kelley later asked if Turner anticipated district-wide opportunities.
“I do,” Turner answered. “This would give us more opportunities with fine arts and athletics since the parents aren’t able to fund these programs as they once did.”
Douglas County School System Superintendent Gordon Pritz told the board that the district would be talking to other school systems already utilizing outside advertising/sponsorship to boost revenue. He would then bring back to the board some suggestions for changes to the policy for an upcoming vote.
Also on Monday, the board voted 4-0 for Kelley to replace Sam Haskell of District 4 as the board’s new vice chair at Monday night’s meeting.
Kelley abstained from the vote, which followed after Haskell suddenly resigned from the post following the Oct. 17 meeting.
Haskell, the longest serving board member who started his service in 1997, wouldn’t get into specifics, but said “just lots of stress” caused him to want to step down from the vice chair position. He's held the vice chair title four times since joining the board.
When asked by Patch if he would seek a fifth term as a board of education member in 2014, Haskell said, “Oh, yes.”
Haskell was then asked if his school board work was causing the stress, and he denied that and said instead that it was “some stress involving family life."
Board member D.T. Jackson of District 2 spurred the meeting’s vice chair vote after he requested to open up a discussion for nominations for a new board vice chair during the “New Business” portion of the meeting.
Board Chair Jeff Morris of District 5 immediately nominated Kelley, a retired educator in her first year on the board whose district bio boasts 30 years of classroom experience in Douglas and Cobb counties. After the 82-minute meeting, Kelley played down the significance of the vote since a new chair and vice chair will be nominated and elected by the board in January.
“It doesn’t change anything I’m already doing,” she said. “If the chair isn’t here, then I’m running the meeting. I take being a board member very seriously.”
Also during the meeting,
Tisha Curry, the district’s homeless student liaison, followed up last month’s board discussion on the school system’s efforts with its current 202 homeless students through a PowerPoint presentation. She talked about the ways the district is meeting the challenge, including hiring her last February (funded through a three-year grant), streamlining student identification, creating an action plan and providing ongoing staff training and awareness.
Associate Superintendent Suvess Ricks said noted international author and speaker Ruby K. Payne of Texas will be talking about poverty and homelessness with the district’s clerical staff on Dec. 7. “Most of them are on the front line, but don’t always have the training,” Ricks said of the impetus for the training.
The board also went over its legislative priorities, which Miller will be discussing with local state legislators today in a meeting. The priorities are:
- Adequate funding to provide an education of excellence to every student.
- Full support to the “Georgia Vision for Public Education” recommendations as a road map for improved public education in Georgia.
- Douglas County College and Career Institute (CCI Funding).
- Constitutional Authority of School Boards.
Throughout the meeting, Pritz and others encouraged audience members to vote today for the district’s $122 million Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum. During the meeting’s closing board member comments portion, Haskell said he already voted for the ESPLOST referendum through early voting and recommended others to do so as well.