Union County Board of Education approves Hill to succeed Dr. Rayfield, ESPLOST Resolution

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Dr. Fred Rayfield

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga. – The Union County Board of Education (UCBOE) convened for their January workshop and meeting at the Board of Education (BOE) building on Jan. 16, 2018, at 6 p.m. All board members were present as was Union County School (UCS) Superintendent Dr. Fred Rayfield.

John Hill

BOE Chairwoman Cynthia Odom addressed the board describing the search process implemented since Rayfield’s retirement was announced in November 2017. Odom said, out of several qualified candidates considered, John Hill, who is already familiar with the intricacies of the Union County School System, was considered by all involved to be the best choice. Odom asked for a motion to approve Hill to succeed Rayfield as UCS superintendent on July 1, 2018. The motion was made, seconded and unanimously approved.

Cory Kirby

Immediately following the approved motion, Hill’s Superintendent Employment Contract was approved and signed by Hill and each board member.

Cory Kirby, of Harben, Hartley and Hawkins, legal counsel for UCS, addressed the board regarding the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) resolution and ballot question. Kirby reviewed the parameters of ESPLOST V, which had already been discussed and agreed upon by the board. Kirby recited the parameters: five-year term, $21 million cap, and project itemization as discussed in the November 2017 BOE meeting of only maintenance, upgrades and upkeep tasks to keep UCS a smooth running, state-of-the-art facility. Ten more new buses over the next five years were also listed as a result of the past deficiency over the last 10 to 15 years in keeping the bus fleet up to date. Along with the resolution to put the continuation of the 1 percent sales and use tax (ESPLOST) in Union County on the May 2018 ballot was the question of whether to include language authorizing the board to approve the issuance of up to $13.5 million in bonds in the event of a dire emergency or catastrophe. Rayfield recommended the resolution with the ballot question as submitted. A motion made to approve the ESPLOST resolution as submitted was unanimously approved.

Dr. Rayfield, left, and Timothy Jennings.

Larry Garrett, left, and Union County Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris.

Partner in Education awards were presented to Union County and to the Union County Co-Op Extension. Union County Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris and Union County Manager Larry Garrett accepted the Award for Union County. Timothy Jennings accepted the Award for the Union County Co-Op Extension, which is part of the University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environment.

Due to what Rayfield referred to as the “Trifecta of Events”, that is, an eclipse, a hurricane and a winter storm, which kept students out of school for more days than planned for, he recommended that the 2017-2018 school calendar be revised to make Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, a make-up day to get back on track. The superintendent also recommended that the board accept the 2018-2019 school calendar as submitted, which allows for the maximum number of weather days. Rayfield said next year’s calendar is very similar to that of this year. The board unanimously approved both recommendations.

Rayfield recommended that the board approve the November 2017 financial report. The board unanimously approved the report.

Megan Hayes’ petition for early graduation, submitted by Casey Jones and signed off on by Rayfield and Hill, was unanimously approved.

An alternate board training date of Jan. 30, 2018, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. was unanimously approved.

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