Troup County Board of Education to consider tax agreement

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 19, 2016

By Matthew Strother

LaGRANGE — The Troup County Board of Education on Thursday is set to consider signing off on an intergovernmental agreement to provide tax incentives to Jindal Films to expand its headquarters into Troup County.

School board attorney John Taylor said the memorandum of understanding among the Development Authority of LaGrange, school system, board of tax assessors, city and county would provide a tax incentive allowing the company to incrementally pay a percentage of its taxable value to the governmental entities while it finances the $205 million planned expansion.

The expansion of the company’s LaGrange facility is expected to add 243 new jobs, Taylor said.

Jindal Films is currently based outside Rochester, New York, but expects to have the new facility built and equipment ready by the end of 2016, said William Handy, the company’s marketing director, in a December announcement.

Handy added that state and local officials provided significant incentives for Jindal Films Americas to bring their headquarters and research center to LaGrange.

In another matter, the board also will consider tightening definitions on a board policy that specifies what student information is available for public inspection. State law allows public request of “directory information” for students, which is defined by the local board.

Taylor said recent requests raised the question of how much information the system should be required to provide. He said the revised policy would specify personal information like students’ phone numbers, birthdays, place of birth, addresses and identification numbers are not part of directory information and won’t be provided.

Board member Debbie Burdette said she wasn’t comfortable providing any student information. Taylor said he didn’t like the situation either, but per state law, the policy is aimed at limiting what can be provided.

In other business, the board is expected to vote on:

A contract of $150,000 to West Georgia RESA for its share of regional services provided by the Burwell program, which is for students with severe emotional or behavioral disabilities, located at Fort Drive and Callaway High School. Money will come from the school system general fund, according to board documents.

• Extending Superintendent Cole Pugh’s contract until Jan. 31, 2019. The current expiration is Jan. 31, 2018.

Purchasing 214 desktop computers and replacement hard drives from Sterling Computers for $235,845. The replacement computers will be for those in the middle and high schools, according to board documents. They will be covered by special-purpose, local-option sales tax funds.

• Approving plans to renovate and add new serving equipment to the Callaway High School cafeteria during the summer for a cost of $275,000. The school nutrition and maintenance departments will initiate the remodeling, and it will include a new outdoor seating area for the students and an “a la carte” area serving specialty drinks like iced coffee and protein smoothies, board documents state. Chartwells K-12, the school system’s food service vendor, will cover $250,000 of the cost as part of its contract with the school system, and the remaining $25,000 comes from school funds.

Matthew Strother is the editor of LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2153.