New band instruments for Bradwell Institute and Liberty County High School will cost an estimated $404,000, school officials said.
Superintendent Dr. Valya Lee presented the cost of the instruments at the board’s Sept. 24 work session. Instruments for Bradwell will cost $201,000 and Liberty $203,000.
The board will vote on whether to buy the instruments at its Oct. 11 meeting.
Lee said the estimates were made after band directors and LCSS Operations Director Jason Rogers inventoried instruments to find out what the system needed.
"We looked at which ones were in good shape that we could use, which ones that were in pretty good shape that we could push down towards the middle schools and which ones we needed to surplus," Lee said. "So we’ve gone out and beat the bushes, not gone out and spending a lot of money, making good use of what we already have."
The instruments will be paid for through the Educational Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax that is set to expire in 2017.
Lee said instruments at the middle schools have already been inventoried, and there have been discussions about having orchestra at the elementary school level as part of incorporating more fine arts in the schools over time.
The Education Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax check from the Georgia Department of Revenue was about $300,000 less than usual in July.
The Liberty County School System usually receives about $500,000 a month in ESPLOST revenue, according to Janine Graham, the district’s assistant finance director.
"I called the state, the sales tax division and asked ‘what has happened here,’ and apparently one of the retailers in Liberty County applied for a refund. They had overpaid their SPLOST and the entire refund was taken out the July payment," Graham said. "They didn’t tell me which retailer it was. My assumption would be that it would have to be one of the larger ones, because that was almost half our payment. Our payment in August was back in line with what we normally receive."
Graham said she will request documentation from the state department to find out what happened.
The board was presented with information on providing transportation to Horizons Learning Center.
Board members recently approved a change to the district code of conduct handbook that allows students who receive their second long-term out of school suspension to be sent to Horizons Learning Center.
Transportation to Horizons is not provided for suspended students. They are driven by their parents to the alternative school. The proposal is to use eight shuttle buses that are currently used to transport students. The shuttles will pick up students from their homes and drop them off at home, with a bus aide aboard.
Lee said it was brought to her attention that principals might not be sending students to Horizons because transportation was not provided.
Board member Carolyn Smith Carter told the board she was concerned about the paving of the bus lanes at Horizons, saying the concrete is broken. Carter said tar was poured in between the broken concrete and said it was not sufficient. She also said the school’s mailbox needed to be repaired.
Lee asked that the board consider having an additional paraprofessional at Horizons. Lee is looking to add about three or four pathways to Horizons and is looking to fill it to capacity. Enrollment at Horizons is currently 109 and it has a capacity for 150 students.
WLCS TV is now live. WLCS is the district’s online streaming service. Channels for public viewing include live broadcast channels for the different schools and program guide. Those with internal access to the site will have more available channels.
WLCS also features a media library with videos, such as a parent’s guide to organizing their child’s medical paperwork, and links to other sites.
Dr. Patti Crane, district chief academic officer, said a programming guide will be published for parents with programming throughout the day and on the weekend.
"This has some unbelievable potential going forward," Lee said.
WLCS can be used for professional learning development sessions that teachers are required to take, Lee said. Instead of coming to the board of education building, or sending a person to the schools, teachers could take the session online at their leisure. Students can do lessons online or join other classes online.
"It also may be after we do our formative assessments there is a particular math area, content domain that the majority of the fifth graders did not do well on. We could do a re-teaching for fifth graders," Lee said. "We can live stream graduation for those abroad or in the military. This thing has the potential to take our school system and our students, particularly, or staff, to the next level."
Board member Marcus Scott IV asked about live streaming athletic events.
Crane said WLCS can do that but she needs to look into viewing rights for paid events under the guidelines of the Georgia High School Association.
Board members talked about getting bigger signs to mark the bus hotspots parked around the county. Some people are not able to tell that the buses are designated hotspots, board members said. Lee said she will get working on that right away.
The district currently has more than 10,000 students enrolled, according to Crane.
District wide formative assessments, formally known as Benchmarks, will begin Oct. 14-28 and will be administered online. The assessments will be done every nine weeks.