City school board approves joining charter foundation
by Lindsay Field
December 12, 2012 12:30 AM | 2859 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Brett Bittner
Brett Bittner
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Marietta Superientendent Emily Lembeck. <br> File photo
Marietta Superientendent Emily Lembeck.
File photo
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MARIETTA — The Marietta City School Board only approved a few things during their work session Tuesday night, including a recommendation from Marietta Superintendent Emily Lembeck to join the soon-to-be-formed Charter System Foundation.

The board also approved an $84,363, one-year contract with State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company to provide insurance to Marietta City vehicles, learned more about a five-year beverage contract with Coca-Cola and the 2013-16 Strategic Plan that the board will consider approving next week at its regular meeting and heard from Bob Sussenbach with CGLS of Atlanta on where the contractors are with building the auditorium at Marietta High School.

Marietta City is one of 17 charter systems in Georgia, and recently superintendents for each district met to talk about forming a Charter School Foundation.

Lembeck said Marietta is the last system to agree to participate in the foundation and that the group, which would consist of approximately five superintendents serving on the governing board, was brought together by Sen. Dan Weber (R-District 40) and the state Lieutenant Governor’s Office.

In addition to Lembeck’s desire for Marietta to join the foundation and for her to personally serve on the governing board, she was also asking for the board’s permission to approve spending about $16,800 annually to support the foundation.

The recommendation was supported 5-1, with Brett Bittner opposing.

After the meeting Bittner said, “I don’t like the idea of having taxpayer dollars going towards advocacy. Dr. Lembeck and I had talked about it significantly and actually looked at alternative funding methods for ways to participate without using taxpayer dollars but the model didn’t lend itself well to that.”

Bittner also said that if there were people who were opposed to the mission of the foundation but forced to contribute to the foundation it didn’t seem right.

After the meeting Lembeck also gave a few more specifics of the foundation, saying it could help develop funding for charter systems, possibly through grant applications, advocate to make sure charter systems attain their flexibility and provide a forum for all charter systems to work together.

She was not sure about details on the make-up of the foundation’s staff but hopes to learn more in the next week or two when the superintendents came together again for another meeting.

Lembeck said the group would like to form the foundation before state legislators meet in January.

The board also talked more in depth about the recommended five-year beverage contract with Coca-Cola that would begin Jan. 1, 2013, if approved by board members next Tuesday.

Marietta’s current five-year contract with Coca-Cola ends Dec. 31.

Danny Smith, Marietta’s director of maintenance and operations, said he tried to compare “apples to apples” between Coca-Cola and Pepsi’s contracts and even spoke with people at various Marietta City locations to garner feedback on which soft drink they preferred most.

He said most of the soda drinkers preferred Coca-Cola and that the “added value” in the contract with Coca-Cola led to his recommendation.

According to the contract comparison with Pepsi, Coca-Cola will pay 20 percent of all vending sales and the vending commission of $87,550 is based on 3,900 vending sales for the five-year time period.

Pepsi will pay 35 percent of all vending sales and the $204,500 vending commission is based on the same 3,900 vending sales for five years.

In added value, Coca-Cola will provide $2,500 for PowerAde equipment to the athletic program, $2,000 for the PowerAde Athletic Recognition Program, 12, $50 gift cards each year to Teachers of the Year totaling $3,000, plaques for Teachers of the Year valuing $5,000, 300 cases of 12-ounce drinks for free, the program “My Coke Rewards,” athletic concession merchandising, the online store “cafeteria” program and the student volunteer tracking software program.

Pepsi will provide 70 percent discounts for the Gatorade sideline kits, debit card readers at Marietta High and EverFi, a financial literacy program.

Another agenda item the board will consider approving next week is the 2013-2016 Strategic Plan.

“I’m really exited about this plan,” Board Chair Jill Mutimer said. “This one is very good and meaty. It was a very good process.”

Mutimer participated on a steering committee to help gather information for the plan, along with Vice Chair Randy Weiner and Tony Fasola.

The vision for the 16-page plan is “To be the school system of choice,” and the mission is “To prepare each of our students, through academic achievement, for college, career and life success.”

Goals in this plan include creating academic excellence, a culture of excellence and workforce excellence.

Some of these goals will be achieved by increasing the graduation rate and the percentage of students exceeding testing standards, developing opportunities to involve students in the decision-making process and attracting and retaining a staff that is 100 percent “highly qualified and highly effective.”

Lembeck said once approved by the board she will promote and educate the school community about it.

The board also got an update on the Marietta High auditorium from Sussenbach, who has been checking in with the group monthly.

He reported that the $8.5 million facility is 41 percent complete and still on track to be completed in July, showed them interior and exterior photos of the building under construction and said they continue to hear from the contractor, Torrance Construction of LaGrange, that there haven’t been any issues with construction.

The board will hold their regular voting meeting next Tuesday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Marietta City Schools board office, 250 Howard St.
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