Baker residents complain about problems at middle school Baker residents complain about problems at middle school Emily Beck Cogburn| Special to The Advocate Jan. 15, 2014 Comments BAKER — Discussion of adding grades to Park Ridge Academic Magnet devolved again into a complaint session about conditions at Baker Middle School during the Baker School Board meeting Tuesday. Park Ridge Principal Tammy Golden listed the advantages of expanding the magnet school from K-5 to K-8 in the 2014-15 school year. No new classrooms would be needed and the district would only have to hire five new teachers, she told the board. Afterward, parents and community members expressed their opposition to the expansion. “How can we afford this when we don’t have what we need at Baker Middle? We have a bleeding sore at Baker Middle. Y’all are trying, but your efforts are in the wrong place,” parent Chequita Hilliard said. Board member Dana Carpenter invited Hilliard and the other parents to join the committee studying whether to add grades to Park Ridge. “Baker Middle needs attention. Because of the behavior issues, some students are threatened. They aren’t functioning well. I would hope this board will try to make things better at Baker Middle,” board member Troy Watson said. “We will have Baker Middle on the agenda,” Carpenter said. NEW BOARD OFFICES: The board on Tuesday unanimously authorized the purchase of the former site of Graves Chevrolet on the corner of Plank and Pettit roads for school board offices. The lease on offices behind Whitney Bank on Ray Weiland Drive expires March 31. CLASS ACTION SUIT: The board unanimously agreed to join a class action lawsuit against the state to try to recover a 2.75 percent per child Minimum Foundation Program increase that was not funded by the legislature for the 2012-13 school year. ELECTION OF OFFICERS: The board elected Carpenter as president and Elaine Davis as vice president, with Davis, Shona Boxie and Carpenter voting in favor of the nominations. Board members Troy Watson and Doris Alexander abstained. FINANCIAL AUDIT: The board approved an audit for the 2012-13 school year by the Postlethwaite & Netterville accounting firm. The firm gave the district the highest level of assurance, meaning that there were no matters of noncompliance. According to the report, the general fund balance as of June 30 was $5.3 million and the district had a surplus of $547,000 during the 2012-13 school year.