Construction crews will start on 21 school bond projects by year's end, helped by eight architectural firms picked Thursday by school trustees.
The Richmond County Board of Education also agreed to have an eternal flame on the grave of Lucy Craft Laney at Lucy C. Laney High School, promoted two teachers to assistant principals and named a new school the McBean Elementary School. All the votes were 10-0.
With the architects now officially hired, work on the $115 million bond projects is progressing on schedule, said Gene Sullivan, deputy superintendent.
"And more than that, it is on budget," he told trustees.
Trustees decided Thursday to consider adding punishments to their policy of banning beepers and cellular phones from schools. Currently, students found with either item at school are not punished but the beeper or cell phone is confiscated.
With the board's approval, teacher Ellen Cauthen is now assistant principal at Tubman Middle School, and Deborah Neivel is lead teacher - the equivalent of an assistant principal - at Barton Chapel and Willis Foreman Elementary schools.
Trustees also heard reports on how many students are being held back a grade, a study done after trustee Johnnie Jackson questioned in February if more black students are being held back than white.
At the middle and elementary school levels, more students are held back a grade at Langford Middle and Bayvale Elementary schools than elsewhere, the report given to trustees said.
At Langford, 30 students, mostly from seventh grade, were held back last year while their classmates moved up a grade. Of the 30 students, 17 were black and 13 were white.
At Bayvale, 40 pupils - the most in the county's 58 schools - were retained last year. Most were in second grade, where 22 pupils repeated the year. Of the 40, 23 were black and 17 were white.
Architectural firms and school bond projects they would handle:
Hinman, east Richmond County elementary school
Cheatman, Fletcher, Scott & Sears, Glenn Hills High renovation
Woodhurst Partnership, Hephzibah High renovation
Holroyd/Sigg, Josey High renovation
Nick Dickinson & Associates, Lake Forest/Forest Hills Elementary schools consolidation
Electrical Design Consultants, media distribution
John Brown, roofs at Milledge, Windsor Spring and Glenn Hills Elementary, Sego Middle and Butler High schools
Passantino & Bavier, west Richmond County elementary school