There was some good news and bad news at last Monday’s Long County Board of Education meeting.
The good news was that the Board approved closing all schools early Friday, which is the last day of school. Smiley Elementary will close at 11:30 a.m., and Walker Elementary, Long Middle and Long County High will close at noon. The measure was approved to reward the students and staff and allow them to begin their summer vacations early.
On the other hand, the cost for students’ lunches will increase for the 2015-16 school year. The price for both children and adults will increase by 15 cents, making it the third year in a row that the meal prices have gone up. Last year, the adult price increased by 30 cents, while the student price increased by 5 cents.
Superintendent Dr. Robert Waters told the board that the LCHS graduation ceremony will be at 8 p.m. Friday in Veterans Stadium. In case of inclement weather, he said the ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday; if weather is still bad that morning, it will be at 8 p.m. If bad weather persists, Waters said that the ceremony will be at 8 p.m. Saturday in the high-school cafeteria.
In a specially called meeting April 29, the Board approved the fiscal-year 2016 budget. Chief Financial Officer Bridget Welch said the total funds excluding capital outlay are $28,473,739 — an increase of $2,015,030 from fiscal 2015. The general funds are $23,132,168 — a $1,728,875 increase.
Welch said the enrollment continues to grow, with an average rate of increase of 6 percent over the past three years. She said the additional state money received because of this increase is being used to accommodate the growth.
“We are very proud that we have been able to manage the budget in an effective manner, resulting in not having to raise property taxes for the past six years,” Waters said.
The board also approved purchasing 75 acres for the proposed third- through eighth-grade combination school. The total of the purchase was $375,000.
The board also approved Statesboro-based Pope Construction Company as the construction manager for the new school. Pope Construction also was the construction manager during the building of the current high school. Waters said he is in the process of receiving bids for the surveying of the school project.
The board also approved amending the graduation requirement for next year. Waters said that the amendment is necessary because the school system is going to a block schedule for the next school term. He said the proposed requirements will need to lie tabled for
30 days before the board can decide on approving them or not.