Liberty County School administrators offered Liberty County Chamber of Commerce members an overview of the state of the public schools Aug. 29 during a Progress through People Luncheon at the Performing Arts Center.
Liberty County School Superintendent Dr. Franklin Perry said despite facing significant challenges, the Liberty County School System has made strides during the past several years.
“I believe if you take care of the children and take care of the parent you are wining,” Perry said.
Educators explained that the number of military-connected children attending LCSS has decreased somewhat during the past several years due to families moving out of the county and enrolling their children in neighboring school systems, but assured stakeholders the district is still eligible for impact aid. The system received $8,122,273.12 in impact aid in 2019, having 2,797 impacted students. In 2015, the system has 4,027 impacted students and received $9,665,021.45 in impact aid.
“We have to be aware that we are competing,” Perry said.
Administrators also briefed chamber members on renovations at the schools, paid for with E-SPLOST funds. About $6 million went toward Bradwell Institute’s extensive gym renovation. The system also bought eight new air conditioned buses and beefed up its technology infrastructure.
This year, LCSS has 10,096 students enrolled, Chief Academic Office Patti Crane told chamber members. In 2015, the district had an enrollment of 9,806. The system employs 789 certified staff, meaning those with college degrees, and 634 support staffers, Crane said.
Teacher retention in the district is 86.72 percent, higher than the state average of 83.92 percent, she said.
School officials summarized the system’s demographics: 51.48 percent are African American, 22.37 percent are Caucasian, and 13.47 percent are Hispanic – which is the fastest growing group in the system.
The district has a special needs population of 13.5 percent. Educators made 120 referrals to Child Protective Services regarding suspected child abuse or neglect. The system also identified 246 students as homeless, and made 69 referrals for School Based Youth Mental Health Services.
LCSS served an average of 6,659 breakfast meals per school day and an average of 7,046 lunch meals per day. Free breakfast is available to all students, and 70 percent of the district’s students are eligible for free and reduced lunch. In addition, the system transported 8,700 students daily on school buses.
Dual enrollment data was also presented for the 2018-19 school year. There were 315 high school students also enrolled in one of five participating colleges or tech schools: Coastal Pines, East Georgia State College, Georgia Southern University, Savannah State University and Savannah Technical College. Administrators claimed dual enrollment saved these students about $444,449 in tuition and fees. Educators added that the Class of 2019 received $2.9 million total in scholarships.
School administrators said the system has improved academically this past school year, as shown by recent standardized test scores. In English language arts, 21 indicators were improved compared to the 2017-18 school year, 20 indicators in math were improved compared to the 2017-18 school year, and 4 indicators in science and social studies showed improvement.