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BOE Recap: REACH scholars and future educators honored, budget discussion continued

The Board of Education honored six highly achieving students, and another roster of students committed to futures as educators, all who will be graduating with the class of 2024. LCES shared their recent successes, and discussions about the budget for FY25 continued. Read more for details about the May 9, 2024 Bulloch County Board of Education meeting.

The May 9, 2024 regular session Bulloch County Board of Education meeting was called to order at 6:30pm. Three Langston Chapel Elementary School students led the pledge of allegiance before the agenda was amended to reflect an additional item in New Business to choose a delegate and alternate for the Georgia School Board Association summer conference.

Board Member Comments

Board Member Maurice Hill said he is proud of the REACH graduating scholarship recipients, their schools, and the supporting faculty and staff. 

Board Member Donna Clifton thanked the 2024 graduates and congratulated them on entering a new chapter of their life. “Choose what's going to make you happy and bring you big bucks,” she said.

Board Member Glennera Martin thanked this year's retirees for the impact they have made in educating Bulloch County.

Jay Cook continued this appreciation, recognizing more than 750 years of experience among those that retired this year.

Chair Elizabeth Williams wished educators a happy Teacher Appreciation Week, saying she has seen the celebration with sweets and good food all week at the schools. She recognized the future teachers that will be graduating from BCS soon, and expressed her delight to see young people entering into the field of education.

Board Member Heather Mims reminded the REACH scholars that there are only 11 days until graduation. “We're right at the end; it's almost over,” she said.

Superintendent Charles Wilson explained that REACH is an initiative by the state of Georgia where the scholarship funding has to be matched by the community, which was achieved through the work of the Bulloch County Foundation for Public School Education.

This Year's REACH Scholars

  • Gage Bunch, Portal Middle High 
  • Emily Xochicale-Flores, Langston Chapel Middle, Statesboro High
  • Catherine Garcia, Langston Chapel Middle, Statesboro High
  • Cage Hickman, Southeast Bulloch Middle, Southeast Bulloch High
  • Candace Jones, Southeast Bulloch Middle, Southeast Bulloch High
  • Arumy Venegas, Langston Chapel Middle, Statesboro High

Grice Connect will share more on the REACH program and the scholars in a follow-up article.

Future Georgia Educators

New Bulloch County Teachers. Special
  • Aubrey Bowen, Portal Middle High School
  • Lilly Mallard, Portal Middle High School
  • Amelia Scarborough, Portal Middle High School
  • Kaylie Brown, Southeast Bulloch High School
  • Audrey Thomas, Southeast Bulloch High School
  • Hayden Guest, Southeast Bulloch High School
  • Brittney Tremble, Statesboro High School
  • Tona Tremble, Statesboro High School
  • River Czech, Statesboro High School
  • Janesha Odom, Statesboro High School
  • SaMya Hill, Statesboro High School
  • Ja’Kenniee Lee, Statesboro High School

School Spotlight

After the recognition of these 2024 graduates, Langston Chapel Elementary School Principal Nate Pennington began a presentation about the recent successes of their students and faculty.


Teresa Flemming, MTSS Coordinator of Langston Chapel Elementary, reports a decrease of severe cases of student absence this school year. She says this was made possible through challenges and incentives that promote the entire class and individual presence everyday, which received great feedback from teachers. 

Students are holding each other accountable so they can receive the group achievements like treats and celebrations. “Those children started to feel more important and come to school,” she said.

Fleming says they also praised the parents for the improvements they made in helping get the kids to school everyday, and the school is already brainstorming ways to continue improving attendance.

Instructional Process

The Corwin Process is utilized at LCES to establish learning targets, criteria for success of content comprehension, assessment opportunities to test the knowledge, and the use of meaningful instructional tools and methods.

School Climate and Behavior

Assistant Principal Valyncia Wooten says that students are learning to be extROARdinary:

  • Respect others 
  • On-Task and present
  • Appreciate opportunity to be successful
  • Responsible for our learning

This time last year, 31 students had OSS or ISS, but so far only 24 have this year.

Wooten says that daily morning meetings strengthen the student-teacher relationship. Additionally, the school's three behavior support teachers help maintain proper learning environments.

Wooten also says that teachers are finding success with the GSU partnership research project that records in-class interactions on a 360 degree camera and allows staff to better understand their teaching habits and how they impact students.

Board Member Clifton thanked Wooten for her emphasis on the student-teacher relationship, echoing the importance of that connection for an optimal educational experience.

The meeting moved forward to a continued discussion about the general fund budget, that is to be finalized this summer.

Teresa Phillips, assistant superintendent of school improvement, addressed questions from the board about the last presentation on the budget. Proposed budget amounts for departments like professional learning, data and assessment, and school improvement were detailed within this presentation.

Superintendent Wilson led a discussion about the budget-to-actual variances for FY24, describing the differences in expected revenue and expenditures versus the actual amounts that were paid this year. 

Excess grants, stipends, and interest income that was higher than expected added nearly $5.8 million to the anticipated anticipated revenue


Salary/benefit and allotment carryover, an un-budgeted government supplement, increased substitution costs, and increased health insurance costs led to expenditures in excess of the budget by $6.8 million.


Wilson points towards the newly passed HB1010, that gives parents the rights to paid parental leave of six weeks per person versus the previous three weeks. He suspects that will continue to increase costs for substitutes.

Chief Financial Officer Alison Boatright summarized the proposed FY25 budget using total revenues that were projected at $150,026,468. Local taxes, state sources and other local sources make-up this revenue, and were presented in detail as shown below



The long term budget that the board is trying to plan for requires that the schools’ reserve funds be replenished and saved after the unprecedented inflation and costs that have depleted them in recent times. There is currently a gap in the revenue and expenditures that the long term plan will push to close. The board emphasizes that the closure and its sustainability should be met without raising taxes.

Board member Clifton said she was very appreciative of raises to Bulloch County Schools employees, because the wages have become extremely competitive and Bulloch county resident educators are staying within the county to teach.

APPROVED Consent Agenda

1. Board Minutes

a. April 11, 2024 Regular Session

b. April 25, 2024 Work Session

2. Board Member Payroll for April 2024

3. Financial Report for March 2024

NEW BUSINESS for approval

APPROVED 1. Five Year Facilities Plan and Resolution

APPROVED 2. Strategic Waiver School System (SWSS) Waiver Contract and Resolution

APPROVED 3. The board appointed Chair Williams as the delegate and Board Member Martin as the alternate for GSBA summer conference

New Business for the Table 

APPROVED FY26 calendar at June 6, 2024 meeting.


APPROVED Recommendations for May 9, 2024

APPROVED Contract recommendations for FY25

The meeting was adjourned just after 8:30 P.M.