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New school board members inducted

Rick McCorkle and Bea Hart-Moss took their oaths Jan. 13 as members of the McDuffie County School Board.

Mr. McCorkle, who represents District 7, was elected to a second four-year term.

Ms. Hart-Moss, who represents District 1, was elected in 2010. She had served nine years on the school board previously, starting in 1993.

McDuffie County Probate Judge Valerie Burley administered the oath of office.

The board then elected Mr. McCorkle as board president for 2011 and the Rev. Dorothy Hart of District 4 as vice president.

"I appreciate your vote of confidence," Mr. McCorkle told fellow board members. "We've got a lot of challenges, but together we can move forward."

"It's an absolute pleasure for me to be of service to the community," Ms. Hart-Moss said after the meeting.

The bereavement minister and former Marine said she served one year of an unexpired term and then was elected to two four-year terms on the school board.

In regular business, the board purchased four school buses.

Nally Motors of Atlanta submitted the low bid of $88,390 per bus for four 72-passenger International diesel-powered school buses.

Other bidders were White's International Trucks of High Point, N.C., at $92,500 per bus, and Rivers Bus Sales of Jacksonville, Fla., at $89,753 per bus.

Transportation Director Henry "Butch" Blount said the buses have flashing wig-wag safety lights. The winning bid also includes a buzzer that sounds if the driver's seat belt is unfastened.

Superintendent Jim LeBrun repeated his call to consider buying buses that operate on natural gas. "As it stands now, natural gas is running at about half the cost of diesel," he said.

The board also granted a contract for roof repairs at a CSRA RESA building in the former Dearing Elementary School.

Thomson Roofing and Metal Co. submitted the winning proposal of $29,835. The board chose the local company over Bone Drive Roofing Co. of Athens, Augusta and Brunswick, which offered the project at $85 less. Mr. LeBrun favored the thicker insulation in Thomson Roofing's bid and urged the board to choose the local company, which he said has served the school system many times.

The third proposal was submitted by Southern Roofing and Insulating Co. Inc. of Augusta, at $29,650 plus extra fees to repair damaged decking.

The regional education building is still owned by the school system, although it has been the site of adult education classes and Dearing town activities. Mr. LeBrun said the roof must be repaired and the building maintained because the wiring for the entire complex goes through that building. He said the cost of demolishing the building and rerouting the wiring would be prohibitive.

In another matter, Mr. Le- Brun advised the board of progress in the search for a new head football coach. Luther Welsh retired after the 2010 season.

The list of applicants has been sorted to 11, and Mr. LeBrun says it should be pared to three before the February meeting.

Of the initial list of 116 applicants, 43 are certified instructors with head-coaching experience.

"Now we have 11 that we feel really could do a good job," he said. "We'll bring in a quality coach who has a proven coaching record but also a proven record as a leader of young people."

Mr. LeBrun said the number and quality of applicants are impressive.

"That's pretty strong for little old Thomson," he said.

In another matter, the board was advised that Thomson High School will administer the Georgia High School Graduation Tests at 8:45 daily March 21-24.

According to the briefing prepared for the board, this is the main administration for all candidates for May 2012 graduation. It is the final retest before the May 2001 commencement. In order to receive a diploma in McDuffie County, each student must pass all parts of the GHSGT and the Georgia High School Writing Test.

Former students needing the certification must register to take tests no later than March 10 by calling (706) 986-4222.

"This is something important to know, that is someone marches across the stage and receives a diploma, they've earned it," Mr. LeBrun said. "It is not just an attendance certificate."

Another update concerned registration for prekindergarten and kindergarten for the 2011-12 school year.

Registration information is available at www.mcduffie. and was published in the Jan. 13 edition of The McDuffie Mirror.

Once registration is complete, the administration will determine whether a lottery is needed to allocate the prekindergarten positions.

The school system has 40 spots available this year at Dearing Elementary School and 100 at Maxwell Elementary School.

He said no lottery has been required in four years at Dearing, but Maxwell registration always forces a lottery. Anyone who is not granted a spot at Maxwell may apply for one of the remaining spaces at Dearing.

Board member Dexter Lovins asked permission to close the meeting with a prayer in light of the Jan. 5 accident that killed school bus driver Jennifer Beckum and injured her 10-year-old son, Preston. Mr. Lovins prayed for healing for the family.

The opening prayer was offered by the Rev. Rodney Lockett of Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church.

Web posted on Thursday, January 20, 2011

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