The Long-Awaited New Building at Davis Elementary School is Finally On Its Way


Dade County Board of Education members voted unanimously during the February Board meeting to approve the construction plan and price. The new building will have five classrooms, a music room, staff and student bathrooms, and storage closets. The original building, which has previously been demolished, had classrooms that were smaller than state guidelines. The original rock, which came from a quarry on Sand Mountain, is still in place at the site and will be used on the new building with the original plaques. Any unused rock will be bundled and stored for later use. Total cost of the project, including three additionals suggested by the architect, and including funds for contingencies is estimated at $3,897,230. Additionals include a gravel lot and repaving of the drive behind the building that leads to the cafeteria.

Superintendent Josh Ingle announced the schools had lost six student days in January. Ingle suggested the ½ day of March 28 and Inservice Day scheduled for March 29 for students only be approved as full student days. Board Member Jennifer Hartline asked if there was anything in place to handle parents who may have scheduled out of town visits for the week of Easter. Hartline was assured that the Principals were aware and ready for that possibility before a unanimous vote by the board to approve the new student days. Four of the days are allowed to be excused by the state each year.

Representatives of the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NASCW), spoke to Board members about the possibility of using Dade County Schools to hold competitions. Six-thousand competitions are held throughout the US. The majority of which are held at schools, some at churches and some a daycare facilities. There are no competition sites in this part of Georgia and they would like to add one. Competitions take two days and include inside rooms, outside, containers, and vehicles events. Three types of essential oils are used for the Scent tracked by the dogs. Oils are put on a Q-tip and placed inside a vessel. The schools can designate which areas can and cannot be used for competition and at which schools. Competitions are limited to 30 dogs per day and the dogs stay in the vehicles until they are ready for them to compete. Only one dog at a time is in the facility with one staging. Over 15 volunteers come with the competition and help things run smoothly and clean after the competition. The school can designate a potty area and signage and buckets will be provided for the dog owners. Many of the dogs are retired K-9’s or working dogs. The NASCW also brings their own insurance and liability waivers and is willing to provide other school locations the board can contact for reference. They also survey the school system after the event to make sure everything went well for the school. A Dade County Sheriff’s Officer has offered to be on site with the competition for the entire time they are in the schools.

In School Nutrition Georgia ranks 5th in participation in the US, School Nutrition Director Jennifer Bowden reported. The over all average of student participation in school lunches in the state is 62% while Dade County is currently at 78%. All the cafeterias received a 100 by the Health Department in August and in February.

As of January 31, 2024, the school system is 58.3% through their fiscal year. Revenue collected is $14,961,299.77 with QBE making up over 50% of that number. Expenditures are at $13,051,771.67 with 67% going toward instruction.

Board members approved the Financial Report; the lowest bid for fuel at $3.2774 per gallon; and tabling changes to Board Policy DIB to include Gatsby Guidelines for 30 days.

The Dade County Board of Education also approved Tammy Davenport and Diane McBryar for retirement at the end of FY24 school year; the resignations of Angie Beach, Lori Crabtree, and Katie Page as of the end of FY24 school year; the hiring ofFY25 Administration as Charity Barton,   Michelle Beeler, Brent Cooper, Chris Davis, Tonya Gatlin, Shenea Hill, Susan Reyes, Jeremy Roerdink, and Melissa Valtierra; the hiring of Darby Ambrose Reeves andSydney Poston Blake as Certified Personnel; the Voluntary Transfer of Skyla Castleberry – Administrative Assistant; the hiring of Marsha Townson andRobyn Cameron as Subsitute Teachers; the hiring of Sharon Coxand Kristin Beasley as Substitute SNP Personnel; and hiring of Kaelin Dupree to help with DMS track.

By Summer Kelley

Watch the full school board meeting here!