Washington got off to slow start Monday after weekend fire

A fire near Washington Middle School Saturday resulted in all three transformers on the school campus to short out, according to Dr. Kermit Gilliard, superintendent of Grady County Schools.
Although city crews had replaced the transformers by the time school started Monday morning, not all of the campus was operational. Dr. Gilliard told members of the Grady County Board of Education during their regular meeting Tuesday, though, that it wasn’t long before all lights and computers were working, once again.
At Cairo High School, the agriculture program is getting a new greenhouse since the original one was destroyed by Hurricane Michael in October. Dr. Gilliard asked the board to approve spending approximately $11,000 on foundation work for the new facility, which will be relocated to the school’s agriculture field. The board approved the funding request unanimously. The greenhouse will be slightly larger and will include a new metal building to house equipment.
When board Chairman Jeff Worsham asked for an update on the new ROTC building, which was also damaged in the hurricane and ultimately razed, Dr. Gilliard said he is meeting architect Greg Smith with James W. Buckley & Associates of Albany on Thursday to get a report. He said he will also get updates on the swimming pool and vocational building projects at CHS, and the renovation project at Eastside Elementary School.
In other business:
Dr. Gilliard reminded the board that the vote to continue the one percent ESPLOST for Grady County Schools is March 19. The superintendent said he had not heard of any opposition, but said he still planned a campaign to promote it to include talking at civic clubs, placing advertisements in the newspaper, and asking principals to discuss it with their teachers. Money collected by the sales tax is chiefly used to improve the physical plant of each school.
Grady County Schools is collaborating with others to bring poverty expert and public speaker Dr. Donna Beegle to conduct professional development for local teachers on March 15. “We are asking teachers and parapros to attend at least one session; it’s a teacher workday for us,” Dr. Gilliard said. Thomasville Center for the Arts is presenting Dr. Beegle in collaboration with Grady County Schools, Southwest Georgia RESA, Thomas County Schools, Thomasville City Schools and City of Thomasville.
The board approved Blough Tech’s low bid of $690 per unit for new computers, which include five-year warranties. The computer purchase is part of the board’s yearly equipment update for the school system to replace computers every five years.
Grady County resident John Monds had registered his desire to speak to the board during the “Public Participation” portion of the meeting, however he was not in attendance at the meeting, which was held at the VanLandingham Center at 5 p.m., Tuesday. Monds had indicated that he wanted to talk about the board’s attorney, Tom Lehman. Citizens must sign up by Thursday the week before the board meeting if they want to speak.
After the meeting, board member Teresa Gee Harris said she was married on Valentine’s Day to her fiancé, the Rev. Jesse Hardy, and that her married name is now Teresa Gee Hardy.

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