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Crisp school board formally approves May 22 graduation date

Commencement ceremonies for Crisp County High School have been scheduled for May 22 at 8 pm. The traditional ceremony will be held on the athletic field with each of the 277 graduates receiving four tickets for families and friends. Crisp County School Superintendent Cindy Hughes told board members at their work session on Thursday, May 7 that the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) approved the plan, which included an appropriate spacing plan to abide by COVID-19 spacing regulations.

Hughes informed the board that the new Crisp County Middle School, currently under construction, was itself a victim of the coronavirus.

“You won’t notice much difference in the February utility bill, but you will notice a decline in revenue, about $17,000 for March,” she said. “When we shut down the schools, we did expect an economic impact.”

Hughes said construction had been slowed by the shutdowns caused by the pandemic, but July 15 is still the expected completion date.

“When is the tentative move-in date?” asked Dr. Elizabeth Maddox, the board’s newest member.

Hughes replied that no one really knew for sure.

“We were shooting for the beginning of school,” Hughes said. “We have a calendar for next year, but I don’t think anyone knows for sure. I don’t think anyone has made that decision. Statewide there’s still a lot of talk. One thing they are considering is an after Labor Day start. There are still several other options if we are still in a public health emergency. There’s A-B days, where some kids go on A day and others go on B day. That would be difficult and it would greatly increase our transportation budget. We don’t want to start at the old school and move later to the new one.”

Hughes also reported that last August, a teacher asked for several items to be declared surplus.

“A bid for $1,050 from Larry Felton was approved by the committee,” she said.

But board member Scott Forehand questioned the process

“When were the ads run for these?” he asked. “And they were approved as surplus. I wonder why we didn’t act on it back then.”

Hughes said she didn’t know but would find out.

Financial director Donna Beavers reported the General Fund was 83.33 percent complete for the fiscal year, showing revenues of $31, 899,993, with 87.41 percent of budgeted revenues, expenses totaled $29,255, 392 or 79.3 percent of budgeted expenses leaving an $8,094,002 balance.

Beavers also presented a budget update.

“We have been notified by the Georgia Department of Education to expect a 14 percent reduction in state revenue,” she said. “We estimate this to be about $3. 6 million. To counter this reduction, we have received $1.9 million from the CARES Act federal funding and we will not be filling vacant positions and we will use $6.2 million in fund balance reserves.”

Hughes presented the athletics budget of $58,627 noting that there have been no expenses since the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) has suspended all activities.

“We have heard that the GHSA is hoping to resume activities sometime after the July 4 holiday,” she said.