Fannin County Board of Education restructures for 2018

Education, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The Fannin County Board of Education (BOE) began 2018 by restructuring their board. This restructuring took place publicly at their Jan. 11 meeting.

An annual restructuring is in accordance with the BOE’s charter which states: “The Board of Education shall elect by majority vote at the first regular meeting of the calendar year a chairperson and vice-chairperson.”

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County Board of Education, Superintendent, Chairman, Vice Chairman, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Bobby Bearden, Lewis DeWeese, Terry Bramlett, Chad Galloway, Steve Stanley, Heather Finely, Director of Instructional Technology, Budget, SPLOST

New Chairman of the Board of Education Lewis DeWeese.

The now former Chairman Bobby Bearden opened up the restructuring by saying, “Mr. Superintendent, I would like to recommend Mr. DeWeese as the chair.”
Bearden then made the motion for Lewis DeWeese to step in as chairman of the BOE, with board member Steve Stanley seconding the motion. The board voted unanimously for this change, with DeWeese refraining from voting.

Stanley then opened the floor to the selection of vice chairman, “Mr. Chairman, I would like to place a nomination for Mr. Chad Galloway.”

Stanley then made the motion for Chad Galloway to step in as vice chairman of the BOE, and fellow board member Terry Bramlett seconded this motion. Galloway abstained from voting, but was unanimously voted in by other members of the board.

The BOE discussed their meeting schedule and voted to keep the schedule the same for the 2018 calendar year.

“So for the public,” Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney explained, “this means that we will continue as is for this year, which is all regular meetings for the Fannin County Board of Education will be held on the second Thursday of each month.”

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County Board of Education, Superintendent, Chairman, Vice Chairman, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Bobby Bearden, Lewis DeWeese, Terry Bramlett, Chad Galloway, Steve Stanley, Heather Finely, Director of Instructional Technology, Budget, SPLOST

New Vice Chairman of the Board of Education Chad Galloway.

Gwatney added, “Monthly work sessions will be held on the Tuesday prior to each regularly scheduled board meeting at 8 a.m., and these meetings will be held here at this office in Blue Ridge. All meetings are open to the public.”

The newly arranged board then got straight to business reviewing the latest financial report for the Fannin County School System. The report showed the latest information as of Nov. 30, 2017, these numbers account for 41.66 percent of the annual 2017-2018 budget.

“Local revenues are at 22 percent ($4,037,844.60) versus 20 percent for this time last year. Total revenues are at 30 percent ($10,021,377.90) versus 29 percent this time last year, and total expenditures are currently at 40 percent ($13,589,826.95) versus 41 percent this time last year,” Gwatney pointed out.

Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds collected for November 2017 totaled $466,740.32.

“This is a healthy financial report,” Gwatney concluded.

Heather Finely, director of Instructional Technology, was present at the board meeting to present the public with the highlights of how the Fannin County School System is staying up-to-date with the ever changing world of technology.

Finely stated that she and her team are currently working on a three-year plan on how to approach technology advancements and how these advancements would best be utilized in Fannin County schools.

A major focus of this three-year plan is the use of WiFi technology in education. In a student survey conducted at the schools, 84 percent of students reported to have working Internet at their home, and 76 percent felt that they could do homework that requires Internet access. Only 11 percent of the students who responded said that they have no way to complete homework that requires Internet access.

Fannin County School System has been working to aid the students without any Internet access. Currently, five buses used by the county to transport students are equipped with WiFi capabilities.

Internet access in the schools is improving as well. “The state provides us with 750 mbs of Internet service. We purchase an additional 250 from TDS,” Finely explained of the Internet speed.

There are currently 108 WiFi access points in instructional areas throughout the schools. Finely hopes to up the number of WiFi access points in the schools, citing that the schools having cinder block walls slows the connections in some areas.

Finely aims to have tablets for every student to be able to use while in school: “We are working towards a one-to-one with Chromebooks.”

There are 1,749 mobile tablets currently available for students and teachers to use while at school. Finely pointed out that the school would also like to offer tablets for students to be able to take home for use. A grant has been applied for that would help to reach this goal.

“Right now, students in AP (advanced placement) take one home to use,” Finely spoke of the current use of mobile tablets.

The Fannin County Board of Education will hold their next regular meeting on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018.

Board of Elections and Registration prepare for General Election in 2018

Election, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The Board of Elections and Registration (BOEAR) planned ahead for upcoming elections in 2018 at their Dec. 4 meeting.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Board of Elections and Registration, Chairman Sonia Smith, Vice Chairman Mary Ann Conner, Georgia House of Representaives, Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, David Ralston, Fannin County Board of Commissioners, Post 2 Commissioner, Larry Joe Sosebee, Fannin County Board of Education, Steve Stanley, Bobby Bearden, Blue Ridge Mountain Soil and Water Conservation District, Soil and Water Conservation, Damon Davenport, Richard Stanley, General Election, General Primary, Senior Homestead Exemption, Governor, Nathan Deal

Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston could seek re-election in 2018.

With many county and statewide elections scheduled to take place in the upcoming year, the BOEAR is already planning ahead for the busy year. BOEAR Chairman Sonia Smith began, “We are looking at a primary in May.”

“Locally, we have Post 2 Commissioner and two school board seats, Steve Stanley and Bobby Bearden,” BOEAR Vice Chairman Mary Ann Conner added.

One of the notable political figures that could choose to run for re-election in 2018 is Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston.

Ralston was first elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2002 and represents House District 7, which includes Fannin County, Gilmer County and a portion of Dawson County. Ralston is the 73rd Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, a position he has held since 2010.

Another key race in Georgia will be the governor’s seat. Currently held by Governor Nathan Deal, this seat will be open without an incumbent.

Deal was first elected in 2010 and has served two consecutive four year terms. According to Georgia state law, this seat is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and is limited to two consecutive terms.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Board of Elections and Registration, Chairman Sonia Smith, Vice Chairman Mary Ann Conner, Georgia House of Representaives, Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, David Ralston, Fannin County Board of Commissioners, Post 2 Commissioner, Larry Joe Sosebee, Fannin County Board of Education, Steve Stanley, Bobby Bearden, Blue Ridge Mountain Soil and Water Conservation District, Soil and Water Conservation, Damon Davenport, Richard Stanley, General Election, General Primary, Senior Homestead Exemption, Governor, Nathan Deal

Governor Nathan Deal will be ineligible for to seek a third term in 2018.

Governor Deal has met the term limit criteria and will be ineligible to seek a third term in 2018.

Locally, three seats within Fannin County will be in the General Election. Fannin County Board of Commissioners, Post 2 Commissioner, currently held by Larry Joe Sosebee, will appear on the ballot.

Along with the Post 2 Commissioner seat, two of the five seats on the Fannin County Board of Education (BOE) will also be voted on in the 2018 elections. These seats, with the BOE, are currently held by board member Steve Stanley and BOE Chairman Bobby Bearden.

The General Primary is scheduled to be held on May 22, 2018, with a voter registration deadline of April 23.

Conner brought up another position that will appear in the 2018 General Election: “The Soil and Water Conservation seat, that will come up. The Soil and Water people and the state take care of all of that, and they just send us what they want on the ballot.”

The Blue Ridge Mountain Soil and Water Conservation District is represented by two district supervisors. One of the supervisors is appointed to a two-year term while the other is elected to the position and serves a four-year term.

Currently, Fannin County is only represented by one district supervisor, Damon Davenport. Richard Stanley, the elected official, passed away in late September of this year. The seat of the late Stanley will be open to candidates in the 2018 election.

A key issue in Fannin County that could make its way to the 2018 ballot is the Senior Homestead Tax Exemption. In a town hall meeting held on Nov. 16, hundreds gathered to address the possibility of eliminating the education portion of property taxes for seniors.

At this meeting, there was an overwhelming turnout opposed to this proposal. With no official word from state representatives as to whether there are plans to move forward with the passing of this exemption, Smith cautioned, “Let us not be lackadaisical, in assuming that that will not get dropped before they (state representatives) quit meeting. So let’s keep an eye on that.”

After General Primaries are held in May to narrow down candidate selection, a General Election will take place on Nov. 6, 2018. Voting registration for this election ends on Oct. 9.

 

 

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Fannin County Schools recognized for their farm-to-school program

Community, Education

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The Fannin County School System was recognized for outstanding achievement in its farm-to-school program.

FetchYourNews, Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Morganton, Mineral Bluff, McCaysville, Georgia, Fannin County Board of Education, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Candice Sission, Golden Radish, Georgia Organics

The Board of Education receives Golden Radish Award on behalf of all schools in our district.

Over 40 percent of school districts in Georgia participate in this program. Combined, these districts served more than 97 million school meals with local food items during the 2016-17 school year.

Georgia Organics founded the state’s first farm-to-school program in 2007. “It’s astounding that over 40 percent of our school districts are actively involved in The Golden Radish Awards after only four years of establishing the program,” Georgia Organics Executive Director Alice Rolls stated.

The farm-to-school program gives students an opportunity to learn the basics of gardening and helps support local economies through local food purchases for school meals.

Fannin County School Nutrition Director Candice Sisson was present to present the Board of Education with the Golden Radish Award received for our district.

The Fannin County School System was recognized at the Gold Level for their accomplishments during the 2016-17 school year. Some of the areas for which Fannin County was recognized include:

– Students incubated, hatched, raised chickens and harvested their eggs. The eggs are just one of the many locally produced items featured in taste tests;

-Every school in Fannin County has a school garden and two elementary schools have greenhouses; and

-Twenty farm-to-school standard-based lessons were taught throughout the school year, including Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) lessons on plant growth in the school garden.

Discussion among board members began about this type of curriculum having not always been taught in schools, except in specific agricultural classes or clubs.

Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney pointed out, “It was something that the children came to school knowing this. The way we (society) has changed through the years, it’s wonderful that school can respond to that need, and school can now provide these experiences for them to in turn take back home.”

Board Member Terry Bramlett agreed and added, “Not only does it increase their knowledge and appreciation of where food comes from, but agriculture remains the number one industry in the state of Georgia.”

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Teachers and Faculty Welcome a New School Year

Education, News

BLUE RIDGE, GA – Fannin County Board of Education held a General Session meeting for faculty and staff on Monday, July 31, 2017. The welcoming of a new school year was met with enthusiasm and determination as district administrators and principals introduced new members of the department and schools.

Departments added seven new employees to the roster, while the schools themselves added 35 new employees, filling positions ranging from sports coach to mathematics educator.

Fannin County Board of Education, Fannin County Schools

New employees of the Fannin County School System.

West Fannin Elementary, alone, accounted for 11 of the new hires.

Guest Speaker Casey Bethel, 2017 Georgia Teacher of the Year, was there to offer encouragement and guidance as the new school year begins.  He hit a chord with the crowd when he stated that “Greatness is the enemy of Excellence.” While he felt that Fannin County Schools were truly great, settling for great would eliminate the community from achieving excellence.

Bethel shared personal stories and tips on how to reach every student before receiving a standing ovation from the crowd.

 

Fannin County students will return to school Friday, August 4, to begin the 2017-18 school year.

Fannin County Board of Education Special Called Meeting March 24th 2017 Full Video

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Georgia Lottery Funded Pre-Kindergarten Class

Education

Media Release
February 23, 2017

In an effort to support local families with school readiness, the Fannin County School System will offer a Georgia Lottery Funded Pre-Kindergarten Class during the 2017-2018 school year. Any child that will be four years old on or before September 1, 2017 is eligible to apply for a position in the class. The class will serve 22 students at Blue Ridge Elementary and follow the Fannin County School District’s Calendar. There are no application fees or other charges for class participation and transportation will be available, if needed.

Application Process

1. Applications can be picked up at the Fannin County Board of Education or Blue Ridge Elementary beginning February 27, 2017. Applications can also be downloaded at www.fannin.k12.ga.us.

2. Completed applications along with supporting documentation should be submitted at the Board of Education or Blue Ridge Elementary no later than 4:00 pm Wednesday, March 29, 2017.

3. Children who will turn four on or before September 1, 2017 and who are Georgia residents may apply. School zones within Fannin County do not bind pre-k students.

4. Twenty two positions are available. Positions will be determined using a lottery method. A public drawing will be held at 5:30 pm on March 30, 2017 in the cafeteria at Blue Ridge Elementary School.

5. Remaining applicants will be drawn and written down in consecutive order. Those not chosen as the first 22 students will be placed on a waiting list.

6. Families will be notified by phone and mail on the status of their application no later than April 15, 2017.

7. The Board of Education will continue to accept applications beyond March 30, 2017, however those names will be placed on a secondary waiting list.

8. If we receive more than 44 applications, we will apply for an additional class from the Department of Early Care and Learning. However, we will not receive notification of funding for a new class until early July. We will notify all applicants in mid-July if the second class will be funded.

For further information contact:
Heather Finley, Director of Special Programs at 706-632-3771 or hfinley@fannin.k12.ga.us

FANNIN COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION
2290 East First Street
Blue Ridge, Georgia 30513
Phone: 706-632-3771 Fax: 706-632-7583
www.fannin.k12.ga.us
The Fannin County School System does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, creed, or disability in admission to its programs, services, and activities, in access to them, in treatment of individuals, or in any aspect of their operations. For additional information or referral to the appropriate system coordinator, contact the system superintendent’s office at 2290 East First Street, Blue Ridge, Georgia 30513 or 706-632-3771.

SUPERINTENDENT
Mark Henson

BOARD MEMBERS
Bobby Bearden
Terry Bramlett
Lewis DeWeese
Sandra Mercier
Steve Stanley

Author

Tri-State Awards Check to FCSS Children’s Fund

Community

Tri-State Awards Check to FCSS Children’s Fund

Fannin County Childrens Fund

Author

Ground Break Ceremony for Fannin County Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Facility on Tuesday, February 7th

News

The approximately $3 million facility will feature a show arena, beautification area, grow out area, bleachers, concession stand, showers, animal science lab, classroom and welding facility.  Once finished, the facility will serve the community as well as the school by providing a place for shows, livestock sales, banquets, meetings and classroom space for Fannin County organizations and students.

See full story:  First-Class Agriculture Facility

Ground-Breaking

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