The Charlton County Board of Education held its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, July 21, during which, the board voted unanimously to approve the budget for Fiscal Year 21 with a general fund. Board members held a special called meeting Tuesday, July 16 for the first review with no public opposition. The second review was held at the July 21 meeting, again with no opposition. The budget has been advertised on the BOE website per state regulations. The school system is facing a $400,000.00 cut as the state cut $1.4 million across the state. Due to the raise in equalization funds and the Literacy, Living, and Learning (L4GA 2019) Grant, the total budget would only be down by about $200-$250,000.00. The board has not received the tax digest as of yet, so the budget could possibly change. However, Dr. Lairsey stated the school system is in a comfortable position with no planned tax increase.
Also during the meeting, the board approved the insurance renewal for the school bus fleet with Auto-Owners Insurance Company. Superintendent Dr. John Lairsey stated the board has used Auto-Owners for many years. He also shared the premium has gone up slightly to $30,560.37, which now fully covers all buses. The insurance agency working with the school was switched to Gowen-Aldridge Insurance.
Board members voted to renew the “Bright From the Start” agreement. The program is for Pre-K, which is funded completely by the Georgia Lottery. Dr. Lairsey alerted the board the Pre-K program does not have a virtual component, as it is not run by the Charlton County school system. Should all of school be cancelled, Pre-K students will have the option for virtual learning, but new enrollees will not have access to online schooling per the agreement.
Dr. Lairsey shared with the board the school system has been given masks, hand sanitizer, wipes, face shields, and thermometers by the state. The schools have also purchased their own COVID-19 supplies to help aid the children while learning. The board will be closely monitoring these purchases throughout the year to make sure the schools continue to be a safe environment.
A motion was made and unanimously approved to renew the contract with Micro Technology Consultants. The company will be available for 24/7 monitoring, and will include one visit per week. The provider will invoice the school system monthly beginning July 1, 2020 at a flat rate of $4,950.00. Dr. Lairsey stated the board is receiving a good deal with this agreement.
ESS substitute nursing services was approved for the up-coming school year, allowing the schools to contract substitute nurses. Dr. Lairsey stated the substitute RN or LPNs would be employees of ESS and not of Charlton County School Systems.
In other news, the board approved the student handbook for the 2020-2021 school year. Board members also unanimously approved the use of the high school for a memorial to be held for Dr. Barbara Hannaford. The agreement with Coastal Pines Technical College was renewed for the year as well. Physical Therapy Services provided for special needs students with Mary Parker was renewed for the year with no changes to the price.
At 7:30 p.m. an executive session was called to discuss changes in personnel, the evaluation of personnel, real estate and potential litigation. The board exited Executive Session at approximately 7:40 p.m. No action was taken.
Members of the board approved the hiring of Mandy Roberson as a first grade teacher at Folkston Elementary School, as well as the hiring of Brenda Green as a substitute bus driver. Maternity leave for Virginia Lott, a Kindergarten teacher at FES, was approved.
The Board of Education office received a notice from Christine Bryant, of Nassau County, requesting her children be enrolled in Charlton County schools. Bryant will be required to pay a tuition fee, as the family resides outside of the school district. The motion was made and passed unanimously.
At the end of the meeting, Dr. John Lairsey announced that he would be retiring in January of 2021. Dr. Lairsey has been with the Charlton County School System for 34.5 years and has taken a position at Valdosta State University. He expressed his gratitude for the board and for all of his years working with the Charlton County school system.
The board will meet again, Tuesday, August 18 at 7:00 p.m. in the BOE conference room.