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Budget, plans topics for LCSS
Summer school options also part of discussions for board
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The tentative fiscal year 2022 Liberty County School System budget, summer school plans and hiring additional personnel were among the topics of discussion during the April 27, LCSS Board Work Session.

LCSS Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Susan Avant presented information on summer school. In June the LCSS will offer summer remediation and tutoring in Reading and Math, a credit recovery course, their fast forward to ninth grade program and offer summer Math courses for grades 9-12. Classes start June 8 and continue through June 24, Tuesday through Thursday 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.

In July the LCSS will offer kindergarten camp and K-8 summer intensive July 13 through July 22, Tuesday through Thursday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Meals and transportation will be provided by the LCSS.

The LCSS plans to offer Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) at various locations and dates that will be announced at a later date.

LCSS Executive Director for Finance Stephanie Clark presented the BOE with the tentative fiscal year 2022 budget. Among the budget highlights was the continuation of the free lunch program for all students, salary step increases for all personnel and a revised pay scale for school nutrition cooks, custodial staff, grounds crews and bus drivers and aides.

Clark said the total expenditure budget for FY2022 is approximately $136.5 million representing a $20.7 million increase over the FY2021 budget. The budget recommendations for FY2022 consists of $140.9 million is operating revenues, representing a $26.6 million increase over the FY2021 budget. 

The LCSS will advertise the proposed public hearings in the Courier and on their website May 8 and May 26. There will be public hearings on May 25 at 8:30 a.m. and June 8 meeting prior to the regular board meeting. The Board will then vote on the budget during their regular June 8 meeting at 5 p.m.

The BOE approved the Snelson-Golden Middle School renovation change order. LCSS Chief Operating Officer Arnold Jackson said the renovations were scheduled to be completed on Aug. 7, 2020. But the project was not completed until Sept. 22, 2020 as the contractor was forced to stop work because the Hinesville Fire Department (HFD) and State Fire Marshall found wall partitions and wall penetrations that were non-compliant to the fire life safety codes. Because of the delay, a change order for an additional $61,000 for general conditions was necessary to complete the project.

The BOE approved the purchase of Kloud-12 Cameras at a cost of $923,485.00 funded by the CARES Act II funding. The Kloud-12 cameras and the audio enhancement solution was presented at the March 23, 2021 board meeting. The purchase will allow the LCSS to completely outfit the remaining classrooms at Liberty County High School, Lewis Frasier Middle School, Midway Middle School and Snelson-Golden with both the camera and audio solution. They also approved the purchase of the core router at a cost of $12,395.28 to the district funded by E-Rate and E-SPLOST. The BOE learned about the need to replace three school system network servers at an estimated cost of $20,000 and the need to replace their domain controllers at a cost of $30,000. Both covered by E-SPLOST.

The Board discussed the hiring of a part-time Homeless liaison for the upcoming school year. The position would work 180 days of the school year and assist the district’s homeless liaison in serving as an advocate, perform casework, participate in meetings with full-time homeless liaison, school social workers, and community partners, conduct interviews with students and parents, home visits, and conferences with school personnel and complete referrals as needed to local or state agencies, such as the Department of Family and Children Services, LCSS Transportation Department, United Way, Department of Public Health, Homeless Prevention, the Manna House, etc. The position would be funded through the McKinney-Vento Grant Funds.

The BOE also talked about adding four more Elementary school counselors to support students with the implementation of classroom guidance lessons that focus specifically on social-emotional learning.   

Jackson talked about the purchase of four new school buses at a cost of $400,330. Jackson said the Georgia Department of Education has allocated the District $386,100 for the purchase of new buses. Jackson said more than 44 percent of the existing buses are over 15 years old, and 52 percent are not air conditioned. The plan is to purchase four new air conditioned buses with a 78-seating capacity. 

The BOE also heard discussions to replace the existing marquee signs at Snelson-Golden, Joseph Martin and Waldo Pafford Schools. This project will replace original manual marquee signs with digital monuments.  The project is tentatively scheduled to start in August once LED signs have been delivered, and it will be completed by the end of September.  The estimated cost is $225,000 funded by E-SPLOST.

Jackson also informed the BOE that the architectural design has been completed for security improvements at two schools. This project has been reviewed and approved by Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE).  In addition, GaDOE has allocated the District $42,570.50 to enhance and upgrade school security systems. The project is tentatively scheduled to start in June and will be completed by the end of July.  

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