VERONA — Augusta County Public Schools teachers and staff members are excited and ready for the new academic year to begin Tuesday.

Returning teachers and new teachers returned to school this past week.

Augusta County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric W. Bond said at Thursday’s regular meeting of the Augusta County School Board that he spent time in the past week visiting schools and speaking with principals and staff.

“I’m pleased to report that we’re pretty much ready,” said Bond Thursday night. “We’re ready for the kids. We’re anxious. There seems to be a little bit of a buzz in the air this year.”

Bond said he observed excitement among teachers and administers during his visits to the school system’s schools.

Bond praised the school system’s maintenance and custodial staffs and mechanics for getting all buildings and vehicles ready for students to return.

The school system is fully staffed except for one teaching position and a few unexpected bus driver resignations.

“All in all we’re very excited about the upcoming school year,” Bond said.

However, Bond was confident from the pool of applicants the school system has all ready collected that all vacancies will be filled quickly.

Augusta County Schools welcomes more than 70 new staff hires this academic year, including 20 first-year teachers.

In a financial summary of the 2018-2019 academic year, Director of Finance Mark Lotts said the school system’s year end fund balance was $576,019.

Lotts said that generally staff requests the school board to authorize that Bond ask the Augusta County Board of Supervisors to re-appropriate the balance for the school system’s Capital Improvement Projects, “which is used to meet our debt obligations for the schools.”

The board unanimously approved a motion for Bond to do so.

The fund balance was $20,000 more than what the school system needs to keep its CIP solvent, Lotts said.

“Another great job, Mr. Lotts,” said School Board Vice Chairman Nicholas T. Collins.

Lotts said that it is “a team effort.”

Dr. Douglas Shifflett, Augusta School’s assistant superintendent for administration, said all of the school system’s schools updated crisis plans for the 2019-2020 academic year, and the board approved the updated plans by a unanimous vote. School board member John Ward was absent at Thursday’s meeting.

Infinite Campus Magazine, the school database software system with which Augusta County Schools manages its information system, has a publication.

“We were actually featured in that,” Bond said.

A representative of the magazine came to Augusta County from Minnesota and wrote an article about Augusta County Public Schools “and our implementation of Infinite Campus. So it’s something we’re very proud.”

Bond had one copy of the publication and permitted members of the board to take a look at the article at Thursday’s meeting.

“I too attended the new teacher orientation, and I agree with Dr. Bond that there seems to be a buzz, an excitement certainly by the new teachers and I’m sure by those that have been around for awhile,” said school board member Donna H. Wells during school board member comment at the end of Thursday’s meeting.

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