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she has touched – a lot of families. I appreciate your loyalty, commitment, and unwavering support for me as a new person at your school. You made me feel welcome, so I thank you for that,” Norfleet emphasized.

She added, “She is a prayer warrior. So, when we would have our preplanning walkthroughs, I was with her group one time during that walkthrough. She prayed for our school in such a way that I felt like my feet were lifted off the ground. Thank you so much for all you’ve done, and I wish you well.”

Parrish responded to the honor, saying, “It’s been a wonderful journey. I definitely will miss my crew, and have appreciated all of the support. J.D. Dickerson is like a home to me. I will miss everyone.”

Cathy Pace was the next retiree recognized, as she has spent 22 years of her career at Vidalia City Schools. “I thank you for your support – you taught my child when we first got back to Vidalia. You loved him, supported him, and kept up with him, as you do with all of your students. So, I thank you for that,” Norfleet remarked. “Come back anytime, please, and read to the classes. We love you.”

Pace was speechless at the honor, and thanked Norfleet for the recognition.

Allison Barr was the last retiree honored, as she has spent 8 of her 34 years in education at Vidalia City Schools. “You have been amazing. You have worked with our students that need us the most, and you have set high expectations for them. You have a spirit of ‘I can,’ and for that, I will always remember you – the way that you nurture, but not only nurture, but support and let them know that they can do it. Thank you for that,” Norfleet told Barr.

Barr reflected on her years within the school system, sharing, ““My prek people, I love you so much. It’s going to be hard to leave y’all. I just love J.D. Dickerson, and it has been so wonderful to have family. The two women that I work with are amazing, and they would pick me up on days that I needed it. I just appreciate the opportunity. We’ve had a lot of conversations over the years with Dr. Wilcox, and I have needed a lot of support over the years. But we made it and it’s wonderful. I just want wonderful things for J.D.D. Thank y’all so much!”

Wilcox commented on the retirements, stating, “My predecessor always used the terminology that this is a bittersweet time. It may not be bittersweet for some of you have made it a point where you’re ready to retire, but every year, we think about how much knowledge and experience is walking out the door. You guys all know from your first year of teaching [to now], you’re a different teacher than you were 2030 years ago. We just want to recognize your efforts more than anything.”

In addition to recognizing retirees, the Board also recognized Chief Financial Officer Norma Croft for receiving the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts Award of Distinction for Excellent Financial Reporting. This award marks the 9th straight year which Croft has received this honor.

“Each year, we go through a very stringent audit process. When I was a teacher, I remember I would always wonder why anyone cared about my mileage driving to RESA or anything of that nature, but through this audit, all of this documentation that we have is pulled and checked by the Georgia Department of Audits. That’s a very simplistic definition compared to what they really do,” Wilcox explained. “Sometime back, the Department of Audits started giving a recognition to folks that were doing this at a high level, and for the 9th year in a row, Mrs. Croft and her department is receiving in the Award of Distinction for excellence in financial reporting.”

According to Wilcox, this award is given to organizations with quality financial statements and supporting documents in a timely manner, and whose annual financial report is given and unmodified – meaning, it is without any issues and free of significant deficiencies or material weakness and complies with all policy.

“This is really a big deal,” Wilcox emphasized. “I’ve learned that a lot of systems do not have the opportunity to even complete their audit before the next fiscal year is over. Our fiscal year ends June 30, and we typically have our stuff in, waiting on the auditors, before Christmas every year. That work never stops, all while payroll has to be done and other things. Norma and her team do a wonderful job of that.”

Croft reacted to the honor, sharing her gratitude towards her financial team, which consists of Shikima Johnson – Payroll, Nikki Goodwin – Accounting Specialist, Tina Wheeler – School Food Nutrition Bookkeeper, Tammy Johnson – J.R. Trippe Middle School Bookkeeper, Debbie Thompson – Vidalia High School Bookkeeper, Maranda Ellis – J.D. Dickerson Primary School Bookkeeper, and Kim Hamilton – Sally D. Meadows Elementary School Bookkeeper.

“These girls are why this is able to happen. They do what they are supposed to every day, and they tell the principals what they are supposed to do. They deserve it just as much as I do,” Croft emphasized.

In the business portion of the meeting, the Board accepted the tentative FY25 budget, which will be available for public review for a month prior to being voted upon. Public hearings regarding the budget will be held at 12 p.m. on June 3 and 4 p.m. on June 11 at the Vidalia City Schools Board of Education office. Board members agreed to amend the current construction management contract for the school system to include the paving of the Board Office and J.D. Dickerson Primary School parking lots. This additional work will cost $170,000 total.

Two 84-passenger buses were approved to be purchased for $192,225 each, totaling $384,450. These buses will be purchased using bond funds and Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) revenue.

The FY25 nonresident tuition for students who do not live within the Vidalia city limits was approved to remain at $200 per student.

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