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Plug pulled on sound systems for new schools
District seeks to mind spending
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Forsyth County News

Other action

Also Thursday, the school board:

* Approved forming a committee to name Elementary School No. 10, which is slated to open in 2010 on about 39 acres off Waldrip Road that the school system bought earlier this month for $2.37 million.

* Agreed to buy 30 new school buses for about $2.47 million. Sixteen will be 48-passenger buses used for special needs students. The district will donate one older bus to the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office for training and transportation.

* Held off on joining the Georgia Education Coalition, with the $5,000 annual membership fee among the reasons.

* Recognized outgoing board member Ronnie Pinson for his service. Pinson, who did not seek a second term, will be replaced by Darla Sexton Light.

-- Jennifer Sami

Thursday's vote was loud and clear. The Forsyth County Board of Education wants to be cautious spending money during a recession.

That means rejecting a plan to equip five new schools with an audio enhancement sound system.

"It's just a hard argument to say that we're being good stewards of all the taxpayers' money," said board member Mike Dudgeon. "Until we know what's really going to happen with the legislative session and the budget, it's not the right time in my opinion."

Bailey Mitchell, the school system's chief technology and information officer, told the board the five new schools are at the ideal stage in construction to put in the system, which has been a pilot project at West Forsyth High School.

The feedback from West on the system, which includes microphones and transmitters to enhance sound in classrooms, has been positive.

In making the request, Mitchell cited a 13 percent discount from Tech Optics. The cost to outfit all five schools would be about $593,387, an offer that lasts only through the month.

Ann Crow told Mitchell she was encouraged by the potential discount.

In the end, however, she and the other board members who wanted the technology voted against it, hoping to use the money saved to pay off the school system's bonds quicker.

"We've got to earn some credibility with the public that we're being wise with the taxpayer money," Dudgeon said. "This is a 'nice to have.' It's a good thing. I know everyone likes it, and it helps. But we provide an outstanding education to our kids without these things.