By Amy Wenk

The decision whether to delay construction of the Ison Road elementary school has been put on hold until May.

At its April 1 work session, the Fulton County Board of Education (FCBE) was scheduled to finalize the priority list for Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) III capital projects, including Ison Road, as part of the FY2009 budget presentation. Staff, however, only presented a portion of the budget, called the “Red Book,” which outlines debt service, school nutrition, grants/special revenues and self-insurance funds and budgets.New Fulton County Schools Superintendent Dr. Cindy Loe, who was sworn in April 1, briefly discussed the priority list for SPLOST III capital projects, as well as Ison Road.

“Staff is not prepared with that yet,” said Loe. “We will have further information (to make a recommendation) in May. I want to acknowledge that I am hearing that this is an area of continuing concern… but I am not prepared to make any specific recommendation at this time.”

The budget department is scheduled to finalize the superintendent’s comprehensive budget, including the “Blue Book” or general fund portion as well as the “Gold Book” or FY2009 priority list, between April 2 and April 11. The superintendent will review these documents April 15, which will be discussed at the April 17 meeting, held at 4 p.m. at Dunwoody Springs Charter, 8100 Roberts Drive.

The FCBE will then hold two public hearings regarding the budget on April 29 at its administrative center, 786 Cleveland Ave., and on April 30 at Dunwoody Springs Charter. Both meetings begin at 6:30 p.m.

The board is scheduled to adopt the tentative budgets, including the FY2009 priority list, at its regular meeting on May 15 at Dunwoody Springs Charter.

This delay may be good news for keeping Ison Road on schedule for fall 2009 completion. At the work session, the FCBE discussed a board policy and procedure addition for facility construction and improvement. New criteria for prioritizing facility construction and improvements include geographic areas projected for enrollment growth, maximization of classroom use through efficient scheduling, increase in populations requiring targeted instructional programs and condition of existing facilities that present safety risks or academic inequities.

FCBE Dist. 3 Rep. Gail Dean, who represents Sandy Springs schools, applauded the changes to the policy, saying “there are other criteria that need to be considered.”

FCBE agreed to place the item on the consent agenda for the April 17 board meeting. It is unclear at this time how these policy changes could affect construction at Ison Road.

The Ison Road school is being built to address overcrowding at Sandy Springs elementary schools. Another school, Lake Forrest Elementary, is currently under construction and will be finished in fall 2008. Ison Road was originally scheduled to be complete in fall 2009 as part of a redistricting plan that FCBE passed Feb. 21.