School Board receives update on enrollment, COVID numbers

September 22, 2021

The Comanche Board of Education met in a regular session on Tuesday, Sept. 14.

The board approved various routine consent agenda items, including the minutes of the August board meeting, activity fund reports, 2021-2022 activity fundraisers, and the treasurer’s report, as well as the School-Wide Title I Plan, and student transfers. The board also approved General Fund, Child Nutrition Fund, Co-Op Fund, Building Fund, and various Bond Fund encumbrances. A special meeting will be held on Sept 24, 2021, at 5:30 p.m. to consider the approval of the 2021-22 Estimate of Needs.

Superintendent Julie Bills reported that the current enrollment is 941 (CES 429, CMS 200, CHS 312) which is an increase of 27 students district-wide, from this time last year. Currently, the district has eighteen students participating in the high school virtual academy with several of those being blended students. The middle school has one virtual student. Bills reported that class sizes at the elementary will be at an optimal level with the hiring of a kindergarten teacher and a third-grade teacher.

Bills updated the board on current COVID isolation and quarantine numbers. She indicated that these numbers will be posted weekly on the website. Attendance numbers will be added this week as this shows a picture of where the district is concerning illness, quarantines, and isolations. With Stephens County having one of the highest transmission rates in the nation according to the New York Times, district staff will continue to monitor weekly.

Bills also reported on the status of the ordered Chromebooks, noting that all students have either a Chromebook or an iPad at this time.

The ACT will be the designated test for the district. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors will have the opportunity to take the ACT and the SAT at no cost during the fall semester.

In other business, the board accepted the resignation of Jaicee Combs, who has served for the past three years as Central Office Administrative Assistant. Mrs. Bills expressed appreciation to Jaicee for her dedication and commitment. “Jaicee is one of the kindest and most cooperative employees I’ve ever worked with and we will miss her,” Bills said.

The board approved Bills’ recommendation to hire Stacey Bowen as central office administrative assistant, activity fund custodian, and school district receiving agent. Bowen will continue in her role as school district treasurer and minutes clerk. “When Jaicee notified us about her pending resignation, we were, of course, very concerned,” Bills said, noting that all of the responsibilities of this position are challenging and carry with them a steep learning curve. “I approached Stacey as a ‘long-shot” realizing that she would be accepting the job at a fraction of the compensation level of her current position in the corporate world,” Bills continued. “She already has a good understanding of school finance and the administrative workings of the school district, having served here until she was recruited away five years ago. I couldn’t be more pleased.”

The board also hired Courtney Prock, middle school paraprofessional, Ashley Savage, bus driver, Connie Norton, third-grade teacher, Carlie Gomez, third-grade teaching intern, and Keri Bradley, kindergarten teacher.

Board members in attendance were Charlie Gay, Amy Shelby, Thomas Winton, Cheryl Pannell, and JP Peacock.