The Long County Board of Education at its Aug. 12 meeting recognized five retiring employees. All of the retirees were given plaques from the school system and thanked for their service.
Alfreda Buckner worked as a cook for 33 years at Long County schools. Paraprofessional Maggie Anderson worked in the district for 28 years. Carolyn Swindell taught for 16 years in Long County. Bus driver Roosevelt Jones served the system for 11 years, and Dr. Ken Smith taught for one year in Long County.
“We appreciate everything that all of you have done, and I, personally, enjoyed working with each of you when I was an active employee in the school system,” BoE Chairwoman Janet Watford said.
Career, technical and agricultural education coordinator Karen Swindell asked the board to approve her budget so she can process a grant for the CTAE program. Approval of that grant usually takes two years, Swindell said, and the money is used to buy specialized equipment to train students. All of the equipment purchased will have a lifespan of at least five years.
The grant money will be spent to better the agriculture multi-use, agriculture mechanics, business, early-childhood and health-care science labs. The board passed the budget unanimously.
Swindell also said the school system is trying to launch a program that trains students to be teachers in the hopes that they will return to Long County as educators.
Superintendent Dr. Robert Waters said the school system’s enrollment is growing every day. As of Aug. 12, 2,891 were enrolled. Waters expects the number to increase as enrollment at the new high school likely will surpass 800 by Labor Day. The superintendent expressed satisfaction with the appearance of the new high school and the manner in which it was paid for.
“The new high school is beautiful. In August 2010, we started on this building project, and the ad valorem taxes did not go up one penny to build it. I’m very proud of that,” Waters said.
Though ad valorem tax news was good regarding the high school, future taxes in Long County may be a different story. Tax commissioner Becky Fowler reported that a 2½ percent collection fee will be assessed on ad valorem tax bills. It previously was not collected, but Fowler said her office was audited by the state, which recommended enforcing the fee. Watford asked where the additional revenue would go, and Fowler said to the Long County Commission. Watford said that if that was the case, the board’s percentage should be able to go to the school system.
In other business:
• Janet Poole gave a brief summary on the Criteria-Reference Competency Test. She said that standardized testing will change this year, and tutoring is available to any student who needs help. The College and Career Ready Performance Index summary reports from the state will be provided to schools in October.
• LCHS student Meagan DeLoach was recognized for winning a silver medal at the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America National Leadership Conference in July in Nashville, Tenn. She competed in the “teaching and training” division.
• The BoE approved advertising the five-year history of the system tax digest.