Monday, the Long County Board of Education met in regular session to discuss bonds, school system programs, and to announce the Long County System Teacher of the Year for Long County Middle School.
The Long County Board of Education recognized Victoria Peterson as their 2019 System Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Peterson teaches sixth-grade math at Long County Middle School.
Her principal, Beverly Hill said Peterson is a team player and an advocate for her students.
Peterson will go on to be considered for Georgia State Teacher of the Year.
Representatives from Raymond James Bank addressed the board Monday about E-SPLOST (Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) bonds in place through June 2022 in Long County. E-SPLOST is a one percent sales tax that helps fund school improvements, according to The Georgia Department of Education. Representatives told the board the current E-SPLOST has a cap at $2.7 million and at the rate of revenue collection, the school district would likely meet this cap one quarter earlier than the June deadline.
The board was also informed that the current bond could be renewed by a public vote as early as March 2020 at the same time as the presidential preference election, which would likely bring a higher turnout of voters. However, they were also informed by Raymond James Bank representatives that an unsuccessful election would require the board to wait a full year before putting another E-SPLOST bond to a public vote, as required by Georgia State law.
The board then heard presentations from Long County High School (LCHS) about the Bitty and Beau’s Coffee Project.
Bitty and Beau’s Coffee based in Savannah is a coffee shop run by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. One Long County alumus, Kenneth Thomas is an employee of Bitty and Beau’s who said, “Everything here is made with love,” according to LCHS staff.
The Bitty and Beau’s Coffee Project follows the same business model to provide job training and teach life skills for students at LCHS with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The students offer coffee, hot cocoa, and dippin dots ice cream for purchase to their peers from a cart in the morning and at lunch. According to staff, the project has been a success with students lined up to order from the cart, and it has given students with disabilities the ability to meet and connect with their fellow students while learning to take money, make correct change, and stretch their customer service muscles.
Long County Middle School staff also updated the board on the “Make a Wave” monthly assemblies that help students learn better behavior practices as they interact with each other, their teachers, principals, guardians, and other adults. The students have been working on learning about respect with the help of the LCMS staff through motivational speeches, interactive activities, challenges, competitions, games, guidance sessions and positive reinforcement for good behavior. The program includes going through data specific to their school about what type of infractions occur and going through ways to improve in those areas.
The board approved an increase in the price of adult school lunch from $3.50 to $3.90 to comply with state regulations. This increase will be effective Jan. 1, 2020.
The board also heard about the progress of Georgia Reach Scholarships. Partially funded by the Georgia Student Finance Commission, the scholarships are worth $10,000 per child with $9,000 paid by the commission and the remaining $1,000, hopefully paid by local donors, according to the board. These scholarships will be available to five eighth-grade students for a total of $50,000 in scholarships.
Students will be nominated by their teachers and school staff and will be interviewed by a committee before being selected. This process is set to include a signing ceremony held by the Georgia Student Finance Commission before Thanksgiving.
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