ALBANY, Ga. — The Dougherty County Finance Committee held its monthly meeting Tuesday and was updated on Title I funding while voting to move several bid items for consideration before the full school board at its next meeting on Monday.
Executive Director of Finance and Operations Ken Dyer updated the committee on a CAP (Corrective Action Plan) instituted by the Georgia Department of Education in regard to Child Nutrition Services. Dyer said that child nutrition expert Ruth Gordon, hired at the behest of the DOE, would be in town next week to review the system’s administration and application process of the Free or Reduced Meals (FRM) program.
The state uses FRM numbers to determine the allocation of federal funding given to school districts throughout the state. Last year the DOE had expressed concerns that the numbers provided the state by the DCSS were not entirely accurate.
Dyer said that the state was also looking into three positions that were possibly unallowable as a Title I expense, because they were not instructional positions.
He added that since the DOE placed the system on “high risk” status that “the level of scrutiny we are receiving from the state is different than it has been in the past.”
Interim Superintendent Butch Mosely then informed the committee that he was in the early stages of putting together a plan to streamline the system. The bulk of this plan will involve extensive reviews of all of the district’s more than 2,400 employees.
“The big bucks are always in people,” Mosely said. “We have too many people in some places and not enough in others. There is a lot of turnover in this system, and when we lose somebody we need to look at if the position is absolutely necessary.”
The system’s contract with Alternatives Unlimited (Drop Back In Academy) was also discussed. The academy scours the county for dropouts and gets them back into the system in an alternative school environment.
The state then pays the system $3,800 per student in FTE (full-time equivalency) money. The system, in turn, pays the academy 90 percent of that money. This is state money the district would not receive if the students were not enrolled in the system.
Dyer said more than 200 former dropouts are currently enrolled in the academy, but the DCSS might suffer a $200,000 loss because of a coding error. The state pays an extra $1,000 in FTE money for alternative students, and this higher figure is what the academy bases its billing upon.
But according to Dyer, it’s possible that the system coded those students as regular instead of alternative students, leaving the DCSS on the hook for the more than $200,000 difference.
Dyer said his office is already in the process of looking into the matter.
In items moved for consideration before the full board, the committee approved two bids totaling $470,000 for furniture and equipment for Albany and Dougherty high schools and another for $74,000 for the purchase of Promethean boards.