Paramedic Dennis Kelley demonstrates a "Stop the Bleed" kit tourniquet on a volunteer from the Dade County High School girls' softball team at Monday night's B of E meeting.
Business was light at the Dade County Board of Education's Nov. 12 meeting, but Superintendent of Schools Jan Harris used the occasion to honor some people who needed honoring and to show off the schools' new Stop the Bleed kits.
Nurse Sonya Middlebrooks and paramedic Dennis Kelley gave the board a peep inside one of the system's 30 Stop the Bleed kits, which go beyond the usual first-aid kits in that they contain emergency tourniquets to staunch blood flow in crisis situations and in that they come with a couple of hours of training to make sure everybody knows what to do with them.
Kelley explained that Stop the Bleed was a nationwide initiative to prepare America to better deal with medical emergencies. "This isn't just for schools," he said. "This is for everybody."
Dr. Harris had also invited the Dade County High School girls' softball team for a plaque-presentation-and-photo opp. The team had come in third in the region and made it to the "Sweet 16" playoffs, explained the super, bringing honor to their school, their coaches and their county. The youthful athletes accepted their plaques graciously but, given an opportunity to speechify by Dr. H, only one commented, and only to the extent of: "Can I go now?"
Next, Dr. Cleta Long, who administers the nutrition program for the school system, presented the cafeteria managers with "Golden Radish Award" plagues for their successful participation in the farm-to-school program. Among other efforts to bring locally-grown food into the county and into the schools, students had grown herbs at the schools and planted and maintained a vegetable garden at the Dade Senior Center. Additionally, the high school has an extensive farming program and operation. Agriculture is hugely important in sustaining life, said Dr. Long, and: "We want them [the students] to get that connection."
Financial Director Paula Stallings was out sick with the cold or flu that Dr. Harris said had been sweeping the school system, but the super reported for her that revenues from SPLOST, the special purpose local option sales tax the schools use to pay for capital expenses from parking lot paving to band instruments, have continued their recent encouraging rise.
Speaking of SPLOST, Operations Director James Cantrell asked for and was granted $292,931 of it to pay for three new school buses. Of these, two will be regular 72-passenger buses and the third a more expensive special-needs bus. He said these were part of the program he began last year to get the system's 25-bus fleet up to snuff, replacing three every year until all the buses were reasonably late-model and roadworthy. "There were days this year that if another bus broke down...we wouldn't have been able to cover it," he said.
Dr. Cantrell explained that it took several months to get a bus once it was ordered, and he was putting in his request a bit earlier this year so as to have time to get the buses registered and ready to roll by the beginning of the new school year in August.
The board also approved the superintendent's request that the schools participate in the Georgia Reach scholarship program. This, she explained, was meant to supplement the Georgia Hope college tuition grant. It is aimed at encouraging lower-income students to get into college, she said, and it works by granting a selected five students $10,000 toward college when they are in the eighth grade; then they must maintain a minimum grade point average in subsequent school years to retain the money. Participating in Reach should complement but not interfere with the scholarship endowments already granted by generous local businesses, said Dr. H.
Other items approved on the board's Nov. 12 consent agenda were a copy paper bid of $28.50 per case from American American Paper and Twine and a job description for bus monitors, which for some reason the school system didn't already have. "It's pretty basic," said the super.
After a closed-door executive session, the board approved the following personnel changes:
The resignations of school nutrition bookkeeper Jan Harvey and Dade Middle School custodian David Thompson;
The transfer of Rose Francis to replace David Thompson;
The hiring of Susan Reyes as director of special programs;
The hiring of Adam Renfro as custodian;
The hiring of Phalan Fugate as bus monitor;
The hiring of Andrea Jill Brown as cafeteria worker, full-time;
The hiring of April Logan as cafeteria worker, full-time;
The hiring of Zora Dean Barker as school nutrition substitute;
The hiring of Chris Brown as assistant wrestling coach;
The hiring of Cassidy Walker for the Dade Elementary School aftercare program.
The board also approved leave requests for Brittany Koger, Jerry Giles, Christina Hamlett and Laura Colvin.
The Dade Board of Education's next meeting is at 5 p.m. on Dec. 10.