Archives asks TCSS for increased contribution

Published 9:00 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2019

During Monday night’s school board work session. Shannon Gavin Johnson, executive director of the Troup County Archives, asked the Troup County School System to increase its annual contribution to the archives each year.

The school system currently pays the archives approximately $30,000 annually to store, maintain, preserve and pull records in accordance with state and federal regulations. According to Johnson, TCSS pays significantly less than the City of LaGrange and Troup County, each of which pay $98,410 a year for the same services.

On top of that, Johnson said the archives spent $67,471.41 on staff hours for school records last year, meaning the archives lost approximately $37,471.41 in this exchange. She said that number also doesn’t include the cost of shredding, utilities, storage and other needs. The cost to shred TCSS documents last year cost more than $4,000, Johnson said.

“We cannot continue to operate at a loss, nor is this just to the original idea of cost sharing among the three entities,” Johnson said.

Johnson requested that the school system increase its yearly contribution by $68,410, which would make the total $98,410 — the same amount the city and county pay.

“In addition to covering the cost of the staff time that is currently dedicated to TCSS records, this provision would enable us to add an additional part-time staff member to better maintain and digitize the records,” Johnson said. “Not only would this allow us to better cover the expense of maintaining records, but it would offset the cost of offering our full-time staff insurance, which we are not currently able to do.”

Under the current structure, Troup County and the City of LaGrange pay just less than 30 percent of the archives’ income, which totals $331,216. The Callaway Foundation contributes 19.4 percent, or $64,396, and the Archives raises about 12 percent, or $40,000, each year. TCSS’ current contribution is only 9 percent of the total income.

Johnson also told the school system that the archives is out of space.

The archives currently uses an old bank fallout shelter, called Fort Georgia, to store records, and space is running out. Fort Georgia has a little over 5,500 square feet and is storm proof, making it an ideal location.

“We have diligently and carefully used the space we have available, but we need to request help in renovating our largest facility,” Johnson said.

Johnson said in its current condition and with its limited shelving, Fort Georgia holds 2,800 boxes. If it underwent a renovation and additional mobile shelving was added, Johnson estimated the same square footage would be able to accommodate more than 8,800 boxes. She said that would last until at least 2058, but likely even until 2068.

Johnson said she has a meeting set up with LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton, County Manager Eric Mosley and Interim Superintendent Dr. Roy Nichols to discuss a possible renovation and the space issues.

The board did not comment on the requests, as is common procedure.