HomeNewsEducationSchool Board Votes to Replace Westmont Elementary Building

School Board Votes to Replace Westmont Elementary Building



The Columbia County Board of Education voted to replace Westmont Elementary School during its regular meeting on Tuesday.

School District Superintendent Steven Flynt presented the proposal to the board to build a new structure at the current site of Westmont on Oakley Pirkle Road in Martinez. The school, built in 1970, would not close until the end of the 2021-2022 school year. A plan would then be proposed to relocate students to nearby schools until the new school and been completed.

Flynt also said that two public hearings would be held at the beginning of 2022 so parents and residents could discuss these plans with Westmont staff. Flynt noted that the construction of the new facility would take approximately two years. The resolution unanimously passed.

MORE: Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Allowing Public to Contribute to Accreditation Assessment

The board also voted on approving the new district map, which had been voted on by the Board of Commissioners in its Oct. 19 meeting to be sent to the Georgia Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office.

Flynt also proposed awarding a one-time stipend to the school district’s approximately 3,500 employees. The stipend would be $1,000 for every benefits-eligible employee and a prorated amount for those working less than full time but at least half, which includes both certified and uncertified employees. Flynt named the estimated cost of this proposal to be $4 million, which includes FICA withholdings, to be drawn from the district’s general funding and disbursed during Thanksgiving break.

[adrotate banner=”55″]

Flynt also proposed a stipend for new employees whose first day of work is after the approval of the proposal and before Dec. 31. This stipend would be drawn from the CARES Act fund and would also be $1,000. The stipend would be paid in $500 increments, the first portion of the which is to be made payable a month after the day of hire, and the second portion on June 22.

The board unanimously voted to approve both proposals.

Flynt announced that the district would again be alleviating its COVID-19 mitigation strategies, changing the policy regarding face-coverings from “strongly encouraged” to “optional,” and removing plexiglass barriers from cafeterias. Flynt noted a continued decrease in positive COVID cases, and said that the administration will continue to monitor cases over the next two weeks before considering lifting visitor restrictions.

MORE: Harlem City Council Approves Waste Service Contract and Comcast Franchise Agreement

Flynt also addressed recent concerns regarding materials used in school curriculum, emphasizing that Columbia County is closely following the lead of the state regarding critical race theory. He noted Gov. Brian Kemp’s letter to State Board of Education in which urging that CRT not take root in state standards, and that State School Superintendent Richard Woods declared that the Georgia Department of Education has no current or proposed standards that include CRT.

Flynt also warned against associating certain terms with CRT, singling out social-emotional learning. He then stressed the district’s efforts maintain dialogue with and provide appropriate information to parents and stakeholders.

“While we may not always get every decision right, we are working to continually improve in the areas needed,” said Flynt. “So we can provide the highest quality and most effective education to every student, every day.”

Skyler Q. Andrews is a staff reporter covering Columbia County with The Augusta Press. Reach him at [email protected].

Recent posts

Recent comments

Robert Turbyfill on Column: Serene18 – take two
Leonard Zimmerman Jr on In The Kitchen With Vera: Oh Honey
Tedd Antonacci on Bomb threat suspect in custody
Frank Bush on FAITH: A Great Lady
Judy Wheeler on FAITH: A Great Lady
Robert Green on Kemp signs tax cut bill
Dan Barnett on FAITH: The Turtle
William Speer on Whither Ukraine?
Sherri Jones Rivers on FAITH: The Turtle
Judy Wheeler on FAITH: The Turtle
Doug Herman on Whither Ukraine?
Phillip Williams on Column: Electing judges
John Mulherin on Column: Electing judges
Sarah Scott on Column: Electing judges
Thomas Yarbrough on XPR Augusta Concerts Canceled
Bill Lesshafft on XPR Augusta Concerts Canceled
Amanda Main on FAITH: The Covid Effect
Tedd Antonacci on XPR Augusta Concerts Canceled
Rev. Bill Harrell on FAITH: The Covid Effect
Jackie VOSS on FAITH: The Covid Effect
Penny Danner on FAITH: The Covid Effect
Rabbi David Sirull on FAITH: The Covid Effect
Elizabeth Ristroph on Michael Meyers: The Law Allows It
Phillip Williams on Michael Meyers: The Law Allows It
Debbie Reddin Van Tuyll on For America, a free press is not optional
Debbie Reddin Van Tuyll on For America, a free press is not optional
Barry Paschal on Dine & Dish: Banh Mi Dang
Steve Brett on Broad Street Reimagined
Jeff Simless on Broad Street Reimagined
Leonard Zimmerman Jr on Augusta Museum of History to expand
James Colton on RUSSIA: WHAT NEXT?
Jim Claffey on Broad Street Reimagined
Thomas Plowden on Broad Street Reimagined
Bill Lesshafft on Broad Street Reimagined
Tedd Antonacci on Broad Street Reimagined
John Barney on Broad Street Reimagined
Rick Acree on Broad Street Reimagined
Eric Feldkamp on Broad Street Reimagined
Phillip Williams on Old Warrenton Studios shut down
Christine Slendak on Old Warrenton Studios shut down
Thomas Yarbrough on MCG study focuses on long COVID
Sylvia Cooper on FAITH: Wasps on the Tower
John Barney on RUSSIA: WHAT NEXT?
Gary Smith on RUSSIA: WHAT NEXT?
Juliann McCraney on FAITH: Wasps on the Tower