The Long County Board of Education on Tuesday approved a measure to join the Southeast Georgia Friends of Fort Stewart and Hunter partnership.
Superintendent Dr. Robert Waters said the board’s decision to join — it will become an official member in January — was a positive for the school system.
“The Friends of Fort Stewart is just an outstanding group, and I’m excited about our school system getting on board and becoming a part of it,” he said. “The military is such an important part of this entire region. It is vital that we do all we can to help insure that the base continues to grow. Our board members and the entire school system support our military families 100 percent, and I’m just glad that we can be a part of it.”
The board is the first public-school system to join the alliance and the first Long County governmental body to join.
The partnership is made up of individuals, local governments, civic groups and businesses. According to its website, the mission is “enhancing the overall economic value of Fort Stewart and the surrounding communities through a progressive regional relationship among the partners.” Other local governmental bodies that are members include Liberty County, Hinesville, Bryan County and Richmond Hill.
Also on Tuesday, Waters presented the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute report, explaining cuts the school system has faced and those that it will have to endure in the future.
He said that according to the school-system allotment sheet, Long County will lose approximately $1.8 million this year in state cuts. He said that for a growing school system like Long County, it especially hurts since the allocation of funds is based on the previous year’s enrollment.
“That kills us because we have had such a tremendous growth rate every year, but our funding is based on last year’s numbers,” Waters said. “We don’t have a lot of flexibility in our budget because about 86 to 88 percent of it is personnel costs, so it makes it tight.”
In other business Tuesday:
• Waters also informed the board that in January the system would begin going through its Southern Association of Colleges and Schools review and begin its new strategic planning session.
• Holiday-break information was given. Waters said schools will be closed on Nov. 25-29 for Thanksgiving. The board approved classes to be in session for a half-day Dec. 20 to begin the Christmas break; classes will resume Jan. 7.