From now on, citizens requesting a permanent record of Columbia County school board meetings will have a two-week window to receive an audiotape of the proceedings.
The school board voted Tuesday night to destroy the audio recordings of its meetings after the minutes are transcribed and approved by the board at its next meeting. The ruling comes as the Columbia County Commission is seeking to expand access to its meetings through television and Internet broadcasts.
Minutes of school board meetings will simply state motions and votes made by school board members and omit any discussion, said Columbia County school Superintendent Tommy Price. The move will comply with state law, he said.
Price said the Georgia School Board Association and the Georgia Superintendents Association recommended last year that systems consider destroying audio recordings because they are of little use after the minutes are produced. He said the change also could protect the system from potential litigation, if for instance a board member or administrator inadvertently discussed a matter with legal ramifications.
"You never know what someone might say that has meaning from a legal standpoint," Price said.
In nine years as superintendent, Price could recall only a few occasions when citizens requested audiotapes.
In other business, the school board unanimously approved the contract for Charles Nagle, who was chosen to succeed Price as superintendent Jan. 23. Nagle, who is associate superintendent for student support, agreed to a contract that will pay him an annual base salary of $144,000.
The contract also will pay $600 per month in travel expenses and all professional dues, and will reimburse Nagle for FICA, Medicare and health insurance premiums. He is also allotted 25 days of annual leave.
Also, Price told the board the system will have to hire about 76 teachers and administrators and about 60 nonprofessional employees before the next school year. He estimated salaries and benefits will cost Columbia County between $5.5 million and $7 million.
He cited population growth, attrition and the positions created by the new elementary school in Grovetown as factors.
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