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OCS Associate Superintendent Dallas LeDuff thanked the BOE for supporting the foundation of sixth grade athletics in 2023, which had 96 students participate in fall sports and 32 students in winter.
OCS Chief Technology Officer Ryan White said 751 new Wi-Fi access points were installed across 13 campuses.
He said they’ve done a secondary audio enhancement pilot where teachers wear microphones around their necks to amplify their voices throughout the classroom.
Recruitment and retention
As of the meeting, LeDuff said OCS has vacancies for one custodian, 28 bus drivers, one transportation mechanic, four school nutrition assistant managers and four school nutrition assistants.
OCS Chief Human Resources Officer Justin Cofer discussed employee recruitment and retention initiatives, such as the recent bus driver salary increase and partnerships with Supreme Maintenance Organization or Every Day Counts to fill custodian, paraprofessional and school food nutrition assistant vacancies. Pre-paid legal coverage was added as a benefit with 118 staff members enrolled, Cofer said. A benefits review committee was created this month to work toward new benefits effective Jan. 1, 2025.
Construction of Dove Creek Middle School, modifications to Oconee County Elementary School, Oconee County Primary School and Oconee County High School were completed in July 2023 with district-wide paving completed in August 2023, LeDuff said.
The Instructional Support Center is expected to be done in June 2024, and a 12-classroom addition at Malcom Bridge Elementary School is expected to be completed July 2024.
Requests for proposals were issued in December 2023 for renovations and modifications intended at Rocky Branch Elementary School and adding nine generators for freezer cooler backup power.
LeDuff said the total capacity at all elementary schools will be 4,875 after the addition to MBES, which will create 150 more spots.
The Fiscal Year 2024 Full Time Equivalent, a bi-annual count of student enrollment and services for state funding, was 2,786 for the elementary schools.
The middle schools have a total capacity of 3,000 with an FY24 FTE of 1,952 students, and the high schools have a total capacity of 3,000 with an FY24 FTE of 2,786 students.
The number of students receiving Special Education services has increased from 996 students in the 2020-2021 school year to 1,084 students in 2023-2024.
LeDuff said a 2023 OCS special education parent survey showed 97% satisfaction in comparison to the state’s 88%.
BOE member Tim Burgess asked White about technology issues or opportunities in the next four years they aren’t currently focused on. White said artificial intelligence is one, as they are developing the “Oconee way” to incorporate it in classrooms in a way that follows policy, helps students and prepares them to use it in the workforce.