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A COVID-19 infection and subsequent quarantine at a local business has delayed the distribution of laptops and iPads to Grady County students the Grady County Board of Education learned last week.
School Superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard said that the staff of Blough Tech, which is the vendor that was awarded the bid to install and configure the new technology for the school system, were out for two weeks due to COVID-19, which delayed their work and the ultimate distribution of technology to local students.
Dr. Gilliard said he anticipates the work will be completed by Friday, Oct. 23.
In preparing for the distribution, the superintendent recommended the board’s approval of an insurance policy for the technology as well as a student user agreement.
Each child will be asked to pay a $20 annual fee and under the agreement will return the equipment to the system in good working order.
In the event of loss, theft or damage, the student may be charged the lesser of the repair or replacement cost.
According to Dr. Gilliard, the $20 fee will cover the bulk of the cost of the insurance policy on the new technology.
On Gilliard’s recommendation, the board unanimously approved the user agreement and accepted the low bid of $48,816.80 or $21.95 per device policy premium through Securranty to insure the 2,224 devices.
In other business last week, the board:
‰Approved the recommendation of Dr. Gilliard to apply for state funding for the renovation of the cafeteria and kitchen at Southside Elementary School. No work has been done to the facility since it was constructed 40 years ago other than routine maintenance, according to Dr. Gilliard.
The county is eligible for $847,419 in state funding, but must commit $63,784 in local funds to receive the state allotment. However, Dr. Gilliard said that the system’s actual investment in the project would be significantly more based on the projected cost.
Currently, the architect’s estimated project cost is $1,911,911, but the superintendent said that the system is spending $1.5 million on an all-new facility at Northside, so he hopes that the renovation of an existing structure can be done for less.
Board member Jeff Worsham asked how the project would be paid for if sales taxes were not enough to cover the total.
Dr. Gilliard said the project would not move forward without having sufficient money to complete the project. He also said the system would have three years in which to begin work and the system could return the money to the state, but it would not be lost and could be used on other local projects.
• Received the auditor’s report from the state which found no findings or questionable expenses. “I would like to thank (finance officer) Mr. (Dan) Broome and his staff for a clean audit,” Dr. Gilliard said.
• Approved the retirement of the following personnel: Cecilia Childree – Business Ed teacher at Cairo High School and Jacqueline Daniels – paraproffessional at C.H.S., both effective this December.
• Accepted the resignations of Quincey Bennett – school food service worker at Washington Middle School and Louis Copeland Jr., – parking lot attendant at C.H.S.
• Approved the transfer of Anja Johnson from school food service worker at Whigham Elementary School to custodian at the school.