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School board looks to hire therapist for troubled students
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The Liberty County School System went through the Request for Qualifications process to find an independently licensed behavioral health clinician. 

The clinician will provide counseling services to LCSS students pre-k through twelfth grade and their families whenever needed. 

LCSS received two offers for the job; one from Maxim’s Educational Services and another from the Fraser Counseling Center. Both requested $65 per hour—not exceeding 40 hours a week—with Maxim’s Educational Services requesting reimbursement for travel expenses. 

The Fraser Center was chosen. 

Students are only sent to see the therapist if its recommended by a school counselor. 

According to Executive Director of Student Services Dr. Kathy Moody, there are 43 students scheduled to see the therapist, and most are elementary students. 

Half had thoughts of suicide, according to a presentation. 

Some students are admitted into the program for their behavior problems, but only as a last resort. 

Therapists from the Fraser Center will be conducting weekly school visits for individual and group counseling for the rest of the 2019/2020 school year. 

In other news, the Georgia General Assembly passed HB 322 in 2019, changing the threshold for formal bid solicitation from $10,000 to $100,000. 

The past LCSS Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) was passed on May 24, 2016 and became effective July 1, 2017. The one cent sales tax expires June 30, 2022, after which time LCSS anticipates collecting $44 million over the next five year ESPLOST period. 

Many Board members pondered how best to inform and convince the public of ESPLOST’s importance. 

Board Member James Johns, Sr. said many voters are empty nesters and that TSPLOST is above ESPLOST in many people’s minds. Board Member Verdell Jones brought up possibly placing a pamphlet educating the community about ESPLOST with local bills like the electric bill. They also considered meeting with the Hinesville mayor and city council to help spread the word. 

Principal and CEO Stephanie Woods of Horizons Learning Center reported there are currently 74 students enrolled at the school, 54 of who will soon be returning to their original schools. 

Woods said she plans to visit these children at school to check up on them. 

Woods also reported that during the 2019/2020 school year, there have so far been 55 office referrals. 

This is opposed to the 147 referrals last school year, 160 from the 2017-2018 school year and 288 referrals from the 2015-2016 year. 

BOE officials presumed this meant there are far less discipline problems in LCSS schools.

Superintendent Dr. Franklin Perry stated there have been no school fights since November 2019, which delighted board members.  

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