Union County Board of Education: student Somerset Rabb recognized; school cafeteria prices going up; Financials and Tentative 2018 Budget approved

News

Blairsville, GA – The Union County Board of Education convened on Tuesday, May 16 at 7 p.m., immediately following the Budget Hearing, for their May Meeting. UCS Superintendent Dr. Fred Rayfield and all Board Members were present. Many of the attendees from the Budget Hearing stayed for the Meeting.

UCHS Principal John Hill and Special Ed Director Donna Dixon recognized UCHS SpEd student Somerset Rabb for his accomplishments. Dixon said Rabb is the only SpEd student in the entire district to receive the RESA Student of Excellence Award and one of only 12 recipients statewide. Hill said he remembers all of the four years that Rabb spent at UCHS; he said he couldn’t be more proud of anyone for their accomplishments.

L to R: UCS Superintendent Dr. Fred Rayfield, UCHS Principal John Hill, UCHS Senior Somerset Rabb

L to R: UCHS Principal John Hill, UCS SpEd Director Donna Dixon, UCHS Senior Somerset Rabb

Courtney Waller addressed the Board concerning School Cafeteria prices. Palmer said every year she is required by the USDA to do a calculation to make sure that food service is taking in enough money to cover expenses. She said that this year her calculations indicated that a raise in paid lunch prices of ten cents for each group was necessary. Waller said a ten cent raise would be good for the next two years. Breakfast would remain free for all students, she said. Dr. Rayfield concurred with Waller’s recommendation and the Board unanimously approved.

Dr. Rayfield addressed the Board concerning Principals’ Quarterly Reports and the March 2017 Financial Report. He said everything seems to be in order, there are no major discrepancies and spending is in line for this time of year. The Board unanimously approved the Financials on Dr. Rayfield’s recommendation.

Dr. Rayfield addressed the Board concerning the Tentative 2018 Budget. He said that the Budget had been scrutinized several times, that the Board had 2-year comparisons in front of them and the he and Barbra Dahncke were open for any questions they may have. He said he felt positive about the Budget, that it was ready for advertisement through the required 30-days. He said he recommended that the Tentative 2018 Budget go ‘on the table’ and await adoption or revision at the June BOE Meeting and be ready for final approval by June 30, 2017. The Board approved the Tentative 2018 Budget.

UCS Assessment & Compliance Coordinator David Murphy addressed the Board concerning School Governance Team (SGT) revisions. He said the SGT manual has not been revised in 4 years and was in need of clarification. Murphy went on to focus on several areas where revisions were made. Murphy stressed fresh ideas and more diversification. Dr. Rayfield applauded the revisions. The revisions were accepted unanimously by the Board.

The Board broke for an Executive Session. Upon their return, the Board accepted all personnel recommendations en masse. Dr. Rayfield said that all personnel changes would be on the UCS Website the following day. The Meeting then adjourned.

A video of the entire Board Meeting can be viewed here.

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Union County Schools’ Public Budget Hearing draws standing-room-only crowd; highly positive for BOE

News

Blairsville, GA – The Union County board of Education convened on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 6 p.m. for the second required Budget Hearing for the 2017-2018 Proposed Budget. UCS Superintendent Dr. Fred Rayfield and all Board Members were present. Unlike any recent BOE Meetings, a gallery of about a hundred Union County residents, parents and UCS students were on hand for the Hearing and the Board Meeting that immediately followed; it was standing-room-only.

UCS Superintendent Dr. Fred Rayfield

The Budget Hearing began with a PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Rayfield highlighting several Budget items of concern that were brought to light at the April UCBOE Budget Hearing. Dr. Rayfield pointed out that though UCS is the eleventh highest out of 14 school systems in our district (Hall Co. has two), with per-pupil expenditures of $9,600 per year (three year average), the UCS graduation rate was 97.6 per cent in 2016; an unheard of number today. He also pointed out that UCS has the highest CCRPI (College and Career Ready Performance Index) scores out of all 14 school systems in the district. He said we could lower that per-pupil expenditure number, but the other statistics would likely suffer for it. He said that having a stellar school system, like ours here in Union County, comes with a cost. Dr. Rayfield also mentioned that, of the 13 counties in our district, only two have lower millage rates than Union County; all others are higher.

Dr. Rayfield addressed the concerns about fiscal responsibility stemming from the Tentative FY 2018 Budget showing a deficit of $1.3M. He said the Tentative Budget, which included an estimate in an Expenditures line item titled “Facilities Acquisition and Construction” of $5.0M, turned out to be $3.8M, which is 1.2M less than the estimate. So, he said, there is no 1.3M deficit. And, he said, we have a $29,397 excess of Revenues in the General Fund.

Dr. Rayfield also pointed out that nearly 67 per cent of the Budget goes to Instruction, as it should. Only 5.92 per cent, he said, goes to School Administration and only 10.28 per cent goes to maintenance and operations.

To conclude his presentation, Dr. Rayfield addressed the fact that the Tentative FY 2018 Budget is larger than the 2017 budget. The reason for that, he said, is because of the two per cent raise mandated by the Governor. However, he said, this time the State is covering most of the attendant increase in instruction cost.

UCBOE Chairwoman Cynthia Odom

UCS student with her mother speak at Budget Hearing

Chairwoman Cynthia Odom opened the floor for Public comment. She announced that since so many people had signed up to speak, the time limit would have to be restricted to two minutes instead of three for each speaker.

The comments made were largely supportive of the Superintendent, the Board and the Tentative FY 2018 Budget. Union County resident Pat Thibodeaux questioned the alleged $1.3M deficit, to which Dr. Rayfield repeated his explanation of why there is no deficit. Union County resident Linda Hill asked what studies had been made to discern that the return on expenditures for new buildings was worthwhile. Both Dr. Rayfield and the Board responded that, though there was not time for an answer to that question in the Hearing, they would get that information to her as soon as possible. The other speakers were highly complementary to both Dr. Rayfield and the Board; many were happy to bear the burden of continuing with the current ESPLOST in Union County for the good of UCS because, they said, it’s good for our kids. Others, as pictured to the right, testified to the soundness and quality of the Union County School System.

A video of the entire event can be seen below.

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Union County New School Superintendent Announced

Education

It’s official! In a called meeting on February 29, 2016 The School Board of Union County formalized the employment contract with Dr. Fred Rayfield, who will be the new school superintendent. This contract signing follows the announcement on February 15th that Dr. Rayfield was the sole finalist for the position. Dr. Rayfield is shown here with the Union County School Board (from left to right) Dr. Fred Rayfield, Patrick White, Cindy Byers, Gary Davenport and Keith Potts. Board member Tony Dyer was not present. The new superintendent received a warm welcome from the board and meeting attendees, and is scheduled to begin work in Union County in June.

Article submitted by Pat Thibodeaux

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