Superintendent presents ‘State of the Schools’ report to BOE

By Linton Johnson

The Elbert County Board of Education met Monday and heard the annual “State of the Schools” report from Superintendent Chuck Bell during the opening month of the 2018-19 academic year.
Bell said that with 246 certified educators and 203 classified employees, the school district is Elbert County’s largest employer with 449 total employees.
“And we continue to emphasize with good reason the economic impact that our school district has on Elbert County as its largest employer with about a $1.6 million a month gross wage monthly payroll – so, important stuff for our community.”
Just over 3,000 students are enrolled in the Elbert County schools, from a high of 257 students in both kindergarten and fifth grade to a low of 180 students in 12th grade. On average, approximately 4,250 meals are served in the school cafeterias every day, Bell said.
The superintendent reviewed student test scores and class rankings and was pleased that Elbert County’s most recent high school graduation rate of 82.8 percent was an increase of 3 percent over the previous year.
“We’re looking at it closely, and the preliminary numbers are indicating, based upon summer graduates, that we could be up close to 85 percent. I’ve always said, and I think you’ve heard me say that a realistic yet challenging number for us to reach is 90 percent. We really want to get to that 90 percent graduation rate. Ultimately, yes, we do want to be at 100 percent. Right now, 90 is what we’ve got in that target. We’re going to move closer to that this year.”
In action items Monday, the board voted to implement new school admissions and student attendance policies to comply with state policies and approved a loan of up to $900,000 from the district’s general fund to the special purpose local option sales tax fund to cover an over-expenditure of SPLOST funding in the last school year. The loan is to be paid back with future SPLOST income.
The board also recognized members of the high school athletic department and coaching staff on winning the Director’s Cup for having Georgia’s top overall sports program in Class AA for 2017-18. Superintendent Bell said the Blue Devils’ success last year was a source of pride for the entire school and community.
“Because as we all know, in that high school, things go a lot better when you’re having success on those playing fields,” he said. “We aim for success in academics, the arts and athletics. It’s hard to beat this award for overall excellence in athletics.”

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