Liberty County parents, teachers and students now have resolution to an issue that drew heated opinions last month in public forums: the Liberty County Board of Education voted Tuesday to retain current school times.
That means elementary and pre-K students still will begin and end their school days earlier than their middle- and high-school counterparts, despite a proposal presented from high-school principals that the times be switched.
Though the matter was hashed out during two prior meetings and two forums, the board did not debate the times before voting.
“It is my recommendation that we leave the school start times as they are at this point,” Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer said.
The vote on Scherer’s recommendation was unanimous.
In other business Tuesday, the board went into executive session for nearly an hour to discuss personnel matters.
Among the personnel recommendations was the voluntary resignation of Bradwell Institute teacher and former football coach Jim Walsh Jr., who in February was offered a teaching position but not a coaching slot.
Walsh told the Courier on Thursday he did not wish to comment on the situation.
The board also approved a 10-cent increase in school-lunch prices. Next year, elementary paid lunch will be $1.25, middle $2 and high school $3.
Jason Rogers, assistant superintendent for administrative services, said the increase is to comply with a USDA mandate that said “your reimbursement rate for your free and reduced meals could not make a profit as opposed to what you were charging for paid students.”
The difference to be made up currently is 78 cents, but the school system plans to phase in the increases in small increments.
“Next year it looks like it will probably be a 25-cent increase in order to keep up with it,” Rogers said. “We didn’t want to take a hit all at once; we’re trying to take a little bit at a time.”
The board also approved the close-out and final payment to Lynn Construction Contracting for $46,533 for Pre-K Center renovations and alterations. The total project cost was $465,330.
The board scheduled an estimated three-hour budget session for 9 a.m. April 30.