Pickens BOE Meeting Provides Budgets and Outsourcing

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During the meeting on June 18, the Pickens County Board of Education approved ABM for the outsourcing of custodial services.This company was the second lowest bid at $5,623,797 over 5 years. A difference of over $633,247 after considering the difference the companies are paying for the school’s equipment. The Board said they chose this company as they felt it had the manpower and established workforce in Georgia to support the school including Gilmer, Murray, and Whitfield Counties. They would draw in extra workers from surrounding counties, where they are already established, should an emergency arise.

Chairman Mike Cowart said he felt ABM was more focused on keeping the local people on at full time hours and they pushed for full time employees. The Board went on to say the company was also into promoting local Pickens people using their leadership programs as well as inducting a local Pickens Citizen to become the Project Manager.

The low bid company was ABBCO with a bid of $4,945,650 over 5 years. Both companies agreed to keep those employees who already worked for the Board of Education. According to Rick Little, Operations Director, the employees will stay on at the same rate of pay now as well. Both companies also offered ACA Compliant Health Care and offered to buy the school’s current equipment, though ABM offered $83,900 as opposed to ABBCO’s offer of $39,000.

As they move forward with the outsourcing, ABM assured the Board of their ability to have the school ready by it’s start including the training they will put the employees through with the idea of bringing in the neighboring counties to help if absolutely necessary. On the flip side of this idea, Chairman Mike Cowart mentioned in the work session that they could also pull the employees from Pickens should an emergency arise in the surrounding counties.

Mr. Little also recommended to the Board of Education, who then approved, a purchase of four 72 passenger buses and two 48 passenger buses. These buses will cost $96,356 for each 72 passenger bus and $106,723 for each 48 passenger bus. With the anticipated state funding, this is expected to cost around $446,000.

In accordance with Federal Law, the Board also approved the ten cent price increase for meal prices to a lunch total of $2.10, the breakfast total has not changed. Reduced lunch prices will also stay at $0.40.

Finally, the Board approved personnel changes and the tentative budget for the school system. Though the tentative budget was approved, the supplements were not attached to this budget and are set to be voted on as a separate item.

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