School board extends charter system renewal
by Lindsay Field
February 02, 2013 12:17 AM | 2383 views | 8 8 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — After getting less than 24 hours notice from the Georgia Department of Education, the Marietta City School Board acted quickly Friday to extend its five-year charter system renewal to 10 years.

During a one-hour work session, board members also heard from the maintenance and operations director about what his department is doing to make the district’s 11 schools safer. Carbon monoxide detectors, keyless car entries, buzz-in systems and alert buttons are all part of the plan for increased safety and security.

Superintendent Emily Lembeck said she received a call from someone with the state education department Thursday asking if the district would be interested in extending its five-year charter system renewal application to 10 years.

The board approved and submitted its application to the state in October.

“(The state contact) said this is available in the law and that the other three districts (applying for charter system status) were going to extend theirs to 10,” said Lembeck, who recommended the 10-year renewal.

Lembeck said the state official asked that an answer be given after Friday’s meeting if the board wanted the district’s application to be considered at the February meeting of the State Board of Education.

To achieve this deadline, Lembeck said her district staff tweaked its five-year accountability goals to fit into a 10-year charter.

Vice Chair Tom Cheater asked Lembeck if the district was comfortable extending the charter to 10 years, and if they were concerned that it would either be “over-committing” or “locking” Marietta City Schools into an unachievable metric.

“Some of these are aggressive, but as a charter system, you’re supposed to show that you’re aggressive,” she explained. “They want us to be ambitious.”

$40,000 for CO detectors

The board also heard from operations director Danny Smith about the district’s desire to install carbon monoxide detectors, keyless card entry systems, buzz-in systems and a “general alert system” at certain schools.

One state legislator has filed a bill asking the General Assembly to approve the requirement that carbon monoxide detectors be installed at every public and private school in the state.

Smith said whether or not the bill passes, the district would like to install the equipment at a cost of approximately $40,000.

He said they’ll wait to see what action the state takes so the installation will be in line with any potential guidelines.

Smith said they are waiting to get a sign-off from Marietta High School on which doors should have keyless card access. This allows only approved personnel to enter certain doors on the campus using an ID card. It exists at every elementary and middle school now.

The use of a buzz-in system, which requires school visitors to press a button at the main entrance of a school in order to enter after school has started, will be piloted at Hickory Hills Elementary School and at the Performance Learning Center at Woods-Wilkins.

Smith said he is eager to see how it will work out and that they should be installed at these two schools in the next two weeks.

If things go as planned, they could install them at other Marietta City schools.

Smith said they are also looking to install a general alert system at each school.

This would be somewhat like a panic button that would alert local police to respond in case of an emergency.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Marietta Taxpayer
February 02, 2013
Let me applaud the MCS Board for considering adding detectors to the Central Office; way to put the safety of the students, teachers, and administrators at the schools first. This proposal demonstrates the MSC Superintendent’s lack of focus on her schools; she would rather put herself and the CO staff’s well-being ahead of everyone else.

The MSC board should consider adding the detectors to the schools before the Central Office. The reality is that the CO staff should be spending the majority of their time at the schools they support, instead of hiding in their offices.

Typical MCS
February 02, 2013
The superintended it vain and so are her cronies... Hibbs, Sims, the LOT... Clear house... too much money and greed at the top.... covering up each others sins and putting down the little people... welcome to the land of money, old money
February 02, 2013
I've read several of your comments from this and past MCS articles. PLEASE get out more and get to know your BOE members and school staff before you post. You clearly have a screw loose.

The article states CO(Carbon Monoxide) detectors will cost $40,000 for the district- NOT CENTRAL OFFICE. Only a one-sided, ill-informed, rant ready person would ASSUME CO only stands for Central Office. Please find another SOMETHING to rant about.

You obviously DON'T know ANYTHING about our WONDERFUL school system and certainly don't know any of the individuals in charge.
February 02, 2013
Can someone be this dim? Marietta Taxpayer really thinks it would cost 40 grand for CO detectors in one building? Must be a disgruntled insider to assume CO could only mean central office. Marietta Taxpayer is a joke.
February 03, 2013
I have just read this article twice and it does not say anything about installation of the detectors in the Central office. Maybe you should read it again.
February 03, 2013
Pretty embarrassing- marietta taxpayer. Sure you are smart enough to be posting here??
February 05, 2013
What a ignoramus! Go get a job marietta taxpayer. Leave good school districts alone and pick on Cobb.
February 05, 2013
I think it's fair to guess- you're not a science teacher.
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