School board OKs dentistry services for grades 7-12

Dentistry services once only offered to elementary school students will be expanded through a completely separate service after a vote and some discussion by the Brantley County Board of Education at Monday’s regular meeting.

The board approved the “Help a Child Smile” program for middle and high school students – a separate entity from the tele-dentistry program already provided to elementary school students in the area – as a means of doing basic dental work such as cleaning and identifying other problems that may need treatment from a family dentist.

According to board members, the program is covered by PeachCare, Medicaid and some private insurance companies.  However board chair Dot Hickox first questioned some of the details of insurance coverage with concern that the work done at the schools could mean that the parents of the child were faced with a hefty bill when they went to a regular dentist.

But other board members said that the school inspection and the actual dentist visit would be considered separate under insurance.  That would mean that what is covered by insurance under a limited dental plan wouldn’t be used up before parents made a secondary appointment.

The board is also not signing a contract with the organization meaning they can back out if needed.

A recent one day school closure won’t have an adverse effect on the school system schedule this year after a vote to alter the schedule.

Board members voted to trade the August “mud day” that closed school out with another day in which the school system had a planned day off – Dec. 19.

The result will mean no extra days tacked on to the end of the year – at least not as a result of the weather-related closing near the beginning of school.

Brantley was one of the last hold-outs to continue holding school without a forced closure through one of the heaviest rainy seasons in many years.  But by that Friday, weather had taken its toll on many of the county’s roads making bus travel unsafe or impossible in many areas.

As a result, Brantley canceled school for the day and closed down all offices.

But by Monday of the next week, the schools opened yet again.

But the day swap wasn’t the only schedule change on the board’s agenda Monday night with the board also voting 4-1 to change work-session meeting times from 7 p.m. on Thursday to 6 p.m. the same day.

Board member Kerry Mathie disagreed with the decision and asked chair Dot Hickox if the meeting would conflict with any others.  Hickox said she felt the conflict would be rare, but with the county also meeting on a Thursday near the beginning of the month, it may not be after all.

Each month the county commission holds their regular meeting the Thursday after the first Tuesday while the BOE holds their work session on the first Thursday of the month.

Conflicts would depend on where that Tuesday falls and under the current schedule, all but two BOE work sessions will be in conflict with the county commission meaning that if residents want to attend one meeting, they won’t be able to attend the other.

The county also approved a major new program – the teen maze – that will be used to help students understand the consequences of decisions – from drugs to drinking and driving in their lives.  The program presents teens with choices and shows them realistic scenarios that result from them, from going to jail to, in some situations, attending their own funerals.

The event is being put on by the Brantley County Rallying Our Community and Kids against Substance abuse (ROCKS) Team, Brantley County Family Connections and a slew of volunteers.

In other business, the board:

•  Approved increasing driver subscription pay from $40 to $50 a day.

•  Approved paying drivers $10 an hour with no mileage pay instead of $30 per trip with 10 cents a mile for extracurricular trips.

•  Approved paying Bytespeed $6,495 for a server at the board of education and $21,025 for a computer lab for Work Based Learning at Brantley County High School.

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