Marion County schools have some money to play with, thanks to a vote from the Marion board of education.

The board approved an allocation of $10,000 for each school in the county, including the Adult and Community Education Center, Barnes Alternative Learning Center and the Marion County Technical Center.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Phares told the board the schools may use the money to help achieve goals laid out in the individual school’s five-year plan, enhance the school’s wellness policies or fund a project deemed necessary by the school’s Local School Improvement Council.

“It’s a good thing we can do this for the schools and let them decide for themselves how to use it,” Phares said.

The funding is from a $2.3 million carryover balance from last year’s budget. Phares announced the plan at the board’s annual planning sessions last month.

After the vote, Phares thanked the board for its approval.

“I think it’ll go a long way,” he said. “We’re putting lots of trust into our schools that they’ll spend the money wisely and I know they will.”

In other matters, the board approved the superintendent’s evaluation.

This year’s evaluation included a new objective that the superintendent of schools will enhance the accountability process for administrators, teachers and coaches.

Phares said his plan for achieving this goal begins with the central office staff going out into the schools to address issues and concerns. As far as principals go, said plans include Phares and the principals monitoring developments at the schools. Also, a new template for evaluating coaches has been developed, Phares said. Performance evaluations of coaches are performed at the school level.

Phares said he sent a letter to each coach in the county detailing the expectations he, and the board, has. Those objectives include coaches attending practices and adhering to the board of education’s code of conduct, Phares said.

In other matters, Phares told the board the invitations to bid on the addition and renovation of Jayenne Elementary School went out last week. A prebid conference will be held at the school today. Bids will be opened at the central office Sept. 26.

The board approved the project last month after the project had received the approval of the state School Building Authority. At that time, Phares said the estimated cost of the project is about $2.4 million and will include the addition of several classrooms, and a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

Phares noted the upgrades are necessary because the school’s program utilization is at 92 percent. Basically, there are lots of students being packed into a school that isn’t quite big enough.

E-mail Katie Wilson at

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