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Jones steps down from Effingham school board
Chairperson moves out of 5th District; Dasher named new board chair
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The Effingham County Board of Education accepted the resignation of Chairperson Vera Jones on Thursday night.

Jones has served on the board since November 2002. She has served as the board chairperson since January 2007.

“Unfortunately, I did receive a letter of resignation from Mrs. Jones on July 9,” Superintendent Randy Shearouse said.

“She has moved out of her district and into another school district. We’re glad she was able to sell her house, but we are also going to miss her.”

He told board members they would be required to vote to accept the resignation.

“I sent in my resignation on the day I moved,” Jones said.

She said, as she understands state law, as soon she moved out of the district she could no longer represent the district.

Jones plans to stay involved even though she is no longer a board member.

Shearouse thanked Jones for her years of service.

“When I think about working with Mrs. Jones, I think about the graduation rate,” he said, “the big push that you had to improve the graduation rate. I think about increased scores on the high school graduation test.”

Shearouse said there have been large improvements on the social studies and science portions of the test, more kids passing the test and more students earning HOPE scholarships.

“All the schools in the district made AYP last year,” Shearouse said. “This year, they did it again.”

Shearouse said the system began the ninth grade academy to give extra support to those students to keep them in school. The system has learned they have received a grant to help both high schools’ freshman academies.

He said the system also has earned a grant to begin a career academy and a driver’s ed grant for both schools.

“We’re adding art teachers to our elementary schools this year. I think that’s going to be a big plus for our system,” Shearouse said.

During Jones’ tenure on the board, the school system also enacted a drug testing policy.

“It wasn’t to catch kids,” Shearouse said. “It was to keep kids off drugs.”

He also said Jones fought to keep block scheduling in place while he was a high school principal, adding it gave students more opportunities during their high school careers.

“There’s many more I could say,” Shearouse said. “Those are just some things I thought of off the top of my head, things since you’ve been here that we’re very appreciative of. I’ll say this — it was all about the kids.”

“I’m going to miss all the books you provided me to read, and I hope that when you get a book that you think would be worthwhile for me to read that you will make sure I get a copy of that,” he said. “My shelves are full in my office of books that Mrs. Jones has provided for me.”

Shearouse presented Jones with a plaque for her service.

“We’ll miss her very much,” he said.

James Dasher, who also was named the interim board chairman, called for a motion to accept the resignation. After a few moments of silence, board member Eddie Tomberlin made the motion to accept the resignation.

“It has to be done,” he said.

The board waited for member Lamar Allen to second the motion.

“It’s OK,” Jones said.

Allen then seconded the motion.

Dasher said Jones has been a “great inspiration to everyone on this board.”

The members discussed appointing Vickie Decker to fill the vacancy. Jones’ seat is up for election this year, and Decker — who is Jones’ sister — was the lone qualifier for the seat.

Shearouse said since there is only one person running for the seat he would like to discuss appointing Decker to the board.

There will be a special called meeting to vote to place Decker on the board July 23 at 11 a.m. at Effingham County High School.