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Talley Upper Elementary backfield slated for renovation

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Talley Upper Elementary backfield slated for renovation

Talley Street Upper Elementary. Photo by Dean Hesse

Decatur, GA — The backfield at Talley Street Upper Elementary School is set to be renovated, with the work beginning in April. 

 The school board discussed the project at its March 8 work session but took no formal action. The contract will be a consent item on the agenda in April. 

In April, the board will consider a contract with Athletic Construction for about $249,000 to renovate the backfield at Talley Elementary. The project would be funded with SPLOST VI funds. 

“We have a need to do some backfield renovation at Talley,” Superintendent Maggie Fehrman said. “If you have kids there, you’ve seen how muddy it gets. There were some things that probably should’ve been done the first time around that didn’t, so we’ve to go in there and remediate that.” 

The goal of the renovations is to provide the field with more drainage. 

“Some of the issues we have is excessive water runoff coming from adjacent properties. At some point, the field was completely pooling water,” Chief Operating Officer Sergio Perez said. 

As part of the project, the current sod will be removed, and a new topsoil mixture will be added to provide the saturation and necessary soil for drainage. New sod would then be added. The district needs to do the renovations this spring to give the new sod time to grow to be ready for the next school year, Perez said. 

“This repair will include the installation of sub-drain lateral pipes to connect them to collector pipes. It will be filled with Rootzone mix (a combination of sand and topsoil) to achieve the hydraulic saturation required and proper drainage,” the agenda packet states. 

In other business: 

– The school board will consider the design contract for the track and field planned for Legacy Park. This item will also be a consent agenda item in April. 

In February, the Decatur City Commission approved an agreement with Breedlove Land Planning to design the project. The contract amount is $285,000, and the project budget is $340,000.

The city, the Decatur School Board and the Decatur Public Facilities Authority have entered into an intergovernmental agreement to develop the project. As part of the IGA, the school board has to sign off on the contract as well. 

In addition to the design, the work includes a community participation effort. The planned construction includes selective demolition, a new competition track and field facility, lighting, a synthetic turf athletic field, stormwater management and a field house or comparable renovations to the existing gym at Legacy Park, according to the agenda packet. 

– The district has been working through its budget to provide some appreciation to its special educators, therapists and paraprofessionals. The special education department has also been working to transition new teachers. 

CARES Act and American Rescue Plan funding that CSD received was used to address disruptions in the education of students with disabilities resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We also received some supplement IDEA-specific ARP funds,” Chief of State and Federal Programs Frances Holt said. “Those funds were all under the same requirements as our traditional IDEA grant that we received, so that means we have to use them in the same way with the same monitoring, the same set asides.”

She added that the those funds have to be spent to support the programming of students with individualized education plans. 

Holt proposed the funds be used for a one-time salary enhancement for current employees. Special education teachers and therapists will receive $2,000 and special education paraprofessionals will receive $1,500. 

Eligible special education teachers and paraprofessionals, who were offered a contract for next year and return to CSD, will get an additional $2,000 retention bonus, and returning paraprofessionals would get an additional $1,500. 

“For anyone who is new and signing on with us for next year, they will have a hiring incentive as well in the same amounts,” Holt said. “These are people who have not yet joined our team, but hopefully will to fill some of our vacancies. Additionally, we are going to have up to 10 openings for any teacher that is already certified…but if they want to add on a certificate area to be able to teach special education…we are going to be able to reimburse those fees.”

– All teachers and employees of CSD will receive a one-time bonus before spring break. Non-certified employees, who did not receive a cost of living adjustment in fiscal year 2023, will receive a $500 one-time bonus, Chief Financial Officer Lonita Broome said.  

Broome also proposed a $500 one-time bonus to all employees, including the non-certified employees who didn’t receive a COLA this fiscal year. 

“So this means that employees that did not receive any type of salary adjustment this year will receive a $1,000 bonus,” Broome said.

There was room within the current budget to reallocate some funds toward these bonuses.  

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