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Schools are ‘student focused’

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POSTED: August 5, 2009 1:00 a.m.

Our schools are designed to be "student-focused and future-driven." This simply means that we are here to prepare our students for the future by ensuring that they obtain the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful. We will help them acquire this knowledge and skill set by focusing on each and every student who steps in the doors of our classrooms. Accomplishing these tasks will not be possible without our Board of Education, faculty, staff, and community.

By setting high expectations and by implementing accountability measures, together we will make Bryan County Schools a school system where success is possible for every child. I personally feel honored to serve the children and citizens of our community and am excited about what the future holds for our school and our students.

Our support staff employees in school nutrition, school offices, maintenance/custodial and transportation areas have worked diligently in preparation for the opening day of school. Our school nutrition employees have been involved in workshops in preparation of providing nutritious breakfasts and lunches for students. School office staff have prepared folders, registered students, and answered many phone calls from parents. Our maintenance and custodial staff have also been working extremely hard to ensure that the facilities are neat, clean, and properly functioning when school reopens. Our fleet of more than 67 buses has passed inspections and is ready for the first day of school. The bus routes have been revised in order to accommodate staggered school start times in Richmond Hill.

As many of you are aware, Georgia is now facing significant revenue shortages. Georgia legislators will be at work shortly to reduce spending across departments and programs; public education will surely be impacted. Since we cannot predict the amount of future reductions, Bryan County Schools must operate as efficiently as possible on many fronts to maintain its educational integrity. We expect future reductions from the state. In order to protect students’ quality educational experience as much as possible, the District has been and will continue to look for operational savings and efficiencies; however, because our program and service levels are already very lean, it is likely that we will need to absorb significant revenue reductions by trimming our budgets and explore all potential sources of revenue. In light of this situation, I ask for your help in conserving energy, using educational materials and supplies efficiently, and having a determination to provide the highest quality education possible.

Approximately 87 percent of our budget is used for salaries and benefits across all areas of the general fund budget, many of which are set for a contract year. We recently were notified that the state would withhold from our revenue not only the equivalent of three days of pay for teachers, but also take an additional 3 percent in state funding and 5 percent on all state grants (transportation and nurses). This new series of cuts amounts to nearly $1,300,000. In addition to these FY 10 cuts (to this date), the school district since fiscal year 2003, has not received from the state nearly $7,000,000 earned and owed to the school system due to state budget cuts and austerity reductions. Serious financial adjustments were made during the last fiscal year and in planning for this year by severely limiting spending and cutting staff at the system and school levels.

Despite the economic challenges we face, our mission is to meet the educational needs of our students in a safe and orderly environment. Please be assured that the Board of Education and this administration always welcome your input and encourage your suggestions and support. As a community, our most important assets are our children. They deserve the best education we can provide. Their future and ours depend on that.

The 2009-2010 school year promises to be another exciting school year for the nearly 7,400 students served by the Bryan County School System. We are proud of our children, parents, employees, and community. It is with great pleasure that I partner with you for another great year in Bryan County.

 

Sincerely,

John P. Oliver, Interim Superintendent

 

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