Lamar County schools open their doors Friday and the expectation is a record number of students will walk through those doors as the 2022-23 school year gets underway.
“We are on pace to have record high enrollment. This isn’t a surprise. We have been closely monitoring the construction going up. We may eclipse 2800 students for the first time,” superintendent Dr. Jute Wilson reported Friday.
The system has added several classroom teaching positions to help with the increases. Wilson said the board’s strategic plan is currently being revised in order to address needs and prepare for addition enrollment increases well in advance.
“Our primary and high schools can withstand short term growth but our elementary and middle schools are nearing capacity,” he added.
The ongoing project to replace the roof and HVAC systems at the middle school will stretch on into the school year. The roof was at the end of its life and was replaced with a much more energy efficient and insulated surface. The HVAC units are another story.
“Like everything else in the world, supply chain issues continue to give us problems. The HVAC world is not any different. We have laid all the groundwork to replace the large HVAC units which we anticipate arriving in time for installation during Christmas break,” Wilson added.
The system has been able to complete those projects without taking on any additional debt or increasing taxes due an increase in ESPLOST collections.
The school board voted July 13 to increase school meal prices. The primary and elementary schools will stay in Provision II status and all students will receive free meals at no charge to parents. The high school and middle school are returning to the free/paid/reduced system. Parents should complete one free reduced application for each household.
Under the new pricing plan, the costs are adult breakfast $2.35, adult lunch $3.90, paid student breakfast $2.00, paid student lunch $3.40, reduced student breakfast 30 cents and reduced student lunch 40 cents.
School nutrition director Dawn St. Michel may be reached at 770.358.5891.
Open house events at all schools are Wednesday from 2-6 p.m. Pack your backpack sessions will also be conducted during that time.
Students interested in joining the LCMS band can test drive various instruments Thursday from 4-6 p.m. in the middle school band room.
Ongoing school bus system registration via e-mail is available at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include student name, address, grade and a phone number in your e-mail.
“We are excited about the start of school and the return of students and staff. They are the lifeblood of the campus. We have a lot of work to do to make up the learning loss from COVID. We have the strongest plan and the most resources we’ve ever allocated to address these problems, especially in reading and math. As we say, ‘It’s good to be us’. We are on the right path,” Wilson concluded.