The Richmond County Board of Education's regular monthly meeting was filled with discussion of budgets, buildings, legislation and heels.
School board member Barbara Padgett led the charge to change the county's dress code on shoes, which prior to Thursday night's meeting meant no strapless heels allowed.
"You can't find women's shoes with straps," Mrs. Padgett said, echoing the concerns of many school principals. The principals met with Richmond County School Superintendent Charles Larke on Tuesday, urging him to change the dress code to allow strapless heels.
The motion passed unanimously.
In other board actions, Gene Spires, the school district's comptroller, said the operating budget was looking good, with revenues exceeding expenses by $2.2 million. "We're what you would call, 'in the black,"' Mr. Spires told the board.
The building committee reported that Hephzibah Elementary School is on schedule to open this fall. Teachers and administrators can report next week, and final paving and landscaping work should be done in two weeks.
The roof repair work on the A. Brian Merry Elementary School is also on schedule and under budget, Mr. Spires said.
The school board approved about $120,000 be spent on new playground equipment at Hephzibah, Sue Reynolds, Craig-Houghton and Jenkins-White elementary schools.
School board member Helen Minchew made a presentation to the board on last month's Georgia School Board Association conference in Savannah. She said she and the other board members who attended - Jeff Padgett, Ken Echols, Andrew Jefferson and Y.N. Myers - learned a great deal about the Governor's education reform act, the social promotion bill and other legislation taking effect next year.
"Overall, I feel like it was a very worthwhile conference," Mr. Padgett said. "One of the things about those conferences is you get to see people who have the same concerns and problems that you have."
The board also discussed ways of improving emergency plans for the county's schools and ensuring teachers and administrators are familiar with protocol in the event of a crisis.
Deputy Superintendent Gene Sullivan presented a proposal to expand competitive cheerleading, cross-country, rifle, volleyball, soccer and wrestling programs to all eight high schools.
Dr. Larke announced the appointment of Donald B. Williams as the new principal of Blythe Elementary and Claude Wayne Baker as assistant principal at Cross Creek High School.
Reach Justin Martin at (706) 823-3552.
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