Crisp teachers rewarded for sacrifices made during pandemic

Published 12:07 pm Friday, February 12, 2021

By Neil B. McGahee

Managing Editor

Crisp County teachers and staff got some welcome news at the February meeting of the Crisp County Board of Education.

Superintendent Cindy Hughes that Gov. Brian Kemp and State School Superintendent Richard Woods had approved a $1,000 bonus to all faculty and staff as a tangible gesture of gratitude and respect for their extra work and sacrifices during the pandemic.

Hughes then added that all teachers and staff would receive an additional $550 for all full and part time personnel pending approval by the state board of education at its Feb. 18 meeting.

Hughes said the Crisp County Sheriff’s Department had requested an intergovernmental transfer of some equipment, primarily 12 lockers in the boy’s locker room at the old middle school.

“The lockers will be used to store evidence,” Hughes said. “This transfer will save the taxpayers a lot of money because we otherwise would have to use tax money. The cost of moving the equipment is the responsibility of the sheriff’s department.”

Financial Officer Donna Beavers said the school system came in below budget in January.

“ Our collections were above average at $400,180 and with interest $406,272 leaving the ending cash balance at $4,798,000,” she said. “Our collections amounted to $22,385,705.“

The Crisp County Board of Education will meet on March 4 for a work session.


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Beal-Shephard tries to weather the storm over City HallBy Neil B. McGahee Managing Editor Cordele City Commissioner Vesta Beal-Shephard was elected in 2001 to represent the people of Ward One. By all accounts, she has done a very good job of relating to the citizens living in her ward. Recently, however, a dark cloud has settled over City Hall. From the first day of his term, newly-elected commission chairman Joshua Antwan Deriso began taking verbal snipes on social media at some of the other commissioners. Shephard says she just ignored it at first but on April 9, Deriso posted on Facebook “…It was much anticipated for Comm. Rainey to be against change. Comission (sp) Shephard fights against me the hardest…does not know much about government at all…She needs to be voted out next year 2023.” A few days later, he posted live saying …“I am totally over the games, the political stuff…a lot of people want to make what I said about Commissioner Shephard something about disagreement with Commissioner Shephard. It was her ignorance and short-sightedness…not able to understand what we can do as a government. “When there were people in charge that didn’t look like us…white people… she didn’t question anything. Since I became chairman, she has blocked everything…you don’t know what you are doing; you don’t know what you are talking about.” Shephard winces as she listens to Deriso. “I don’t do drama and I don’t do pettiness,” she said. “I refute everything he has said about me. I’m not angry with Josh; I am somewhat disturbed that he has targeted me, a citizen of Cordele; a black female…he accused me of loving white folks. Well I do love white folks, and brown folks and black folks — Haitian, Jamaican, Indian, Cuban, Mexican — I have no discrimination to anyone. My job is to facilitate for people in this ward and when I vote, I vote my conviction.” Shephard said she doesn’t know why Deriso has such hard feelings against her. “It’s so sad, I have to say that I never saw it coming,” she said. ”But I have to voice my opinion.” But one sad thing has evolved from this. “This is the first time I have been discriminated against by a fellow commissioner,” she said. “I used to invite people to my home if they had a problem. But I had to stop that. If you want to meet with me, we will have to go to a public area or to my office at city hall. I am going to keep my distance for the simple reason that I don’t want to endanger myself.