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$75,000 grant covers cost of greenhouse at middle school

At its monthly meeting Thursday, the McDuffie County Board of Education approved a proposal to build a greenhouse for Thomson-McDuffie Middle School.

The project will be funded by a $75,000 Career, Technical and Agricultural Education grant, with $50,000 allocated for construction of the greenhouse itself and the remaining $25,000 for equipment.

The grant should cover all expenses. The only local money spent would be for in-kind labor provided by the maintenance department, said Superintendent Jim LeBrun.

"We've been working on this since the middle school was open and have finally secured the funding," LeBrun said. "If construction starts soon, we should be able to get in there in two or three months."

TMMS solicited bids from three companies, requesting the price of materials, flooring and installation.

After review, Principal Neal Tam requested the board's approval to proceed with the purchase and installation of the facility by accepting a bid from Atlas Manufacturing Inc., a company based in Alapaha, Ga.

The board voted unanimously to approve the request.

The greenhouse will be used primarily for the agriculture class at TMMS.

"I think it will enhance the ability for students to learn horticulture skills," said board member Bob Smith. "It feeds right into what they're doing at the high school."

Also, the board approved a policy revision to the elementary promotion criteria for kindergarten and first grade at Dearing Elementary School and Maxwell Elementary School.

In order to move to the next grade, a pupil must meet or exceed certain test scores. The revision adjusts the minimum scores for the Georgia Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills - a yearlong, performance-based assessment - and for first-grade English Language Arts.

Grades two through five will use the same criteria as they did for the 2010-2011 school year.

The board also approved 28 field trips, including a number of basketball games, and two fundraisers requested for this school year.

At the beginning of the year, LeBrun and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Mychele Rhodes scrutinized the field trips for the school year. They adjusted the number to spread the trips equally among groups of students, allowing for approximately two trips per class.

Web posted on Thursday, November 17, 2011

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