Funding cuts will hurt county schools

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 17, 2001

Staff Writer

A decrease in state funding and losses in sales tax could be detrimental to the Pike County Schools.

Superintendent John Key told school board members Monday night a severe cut ­ $99 million ­ in other current expenses will have an impact on the county school system.

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Key estimated the OCE cuts will come to 18 percent less than what the system received this year. That translates into a loss of approximately $340,000.

Fleet renewal, Key said, will also be cut.

As a result in the education budget cuts, Key urged those in attendance at the meeting to contact legislators and tell them how the local system will be affected.

"I’m really disappointed in the Legislature and the governor," Key said of the state leaders’ inability to come up with a plan to lessen the impact of proration.

Key places much of the blame on the Legislature, which passed pay raises and other items without giving school systems money to fund them.

"It’s not going to get any better until they (legislators) reform how they fund education," Key said.

The budget cuts combined with a decrease in enrollment will definitely impact the system, Key said. At a minimum, the system will have to cut four teacher units because of a drop in enrollment.

Key also discussed the flexibility bill "poised to pass" the Legislature and his hopes it is "something we can live with" by allowing transfer of funds, noting other such bills have not helped school systems.

"If we don’t have the flexibility, we’re going to have some tough times," Key said.

In other business, the board:

· Awarded bids to HiTech Computers of Jemison in the amount of $628, Goodwin Brothers Inc. for walk-in freezer shelving at PCHS’s cafeteria in the amount of $14,416 and a computer software system for the Child Nutrition Program.

· Approved the Comprehensive Guidance Plan and procedure designed to specifically inform, attract and recruit African American students to participate in special programs. The Comprehensive Guidance Plan’s intent is for counselors to have a plan that will help students.

· Heard a report from Mark Bazzell regarding surveillance cameras at Goshen and Pike County high schools. He said the system is "halfway through the project" that has put six cameras on each campus to help with safety. The goal, he said, is to install 15 cameras on each high school campus.

· Gave its approval for the GHS JROTC students to attend summer camp at Ft. McClellan from May 27 through June 2 with transportation expenses paid for by the U.S. Army; a field trip for PCHS JROTC to visit Ft. McPherson and Six Flags in Atlanta on May 19 at no cost to the board for transportation; GHS Junior Beta Club to attend a math and science day at Six Flags Over Georgia on May 11 at no cost to the board for transportation; the sixth grade at GHS to visit Gulf World in Panama City on May 4 at no cost to the board for transportation.

· Approved a request by Troy State University to lease buses to transport 30 junior and senior high school students participating in the Third Annual Governor’s Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities on June 10-14.

· Voted to give a stipend of $500 to Pam Kreis at GHS and Mary Jo Price at PCHS to be paid from the High Hopes grant which provides a program to assist students in graduation exam preparation.

· Granted a waiver of sick leave days to Melanie Baker who had an on-the-job injury on Jan. 31.

· Approved maternity leave to Goshen Elementary School teacher Teresa Register from April 16 through the remainder of the year. Earlie Mae Matthews will be her substitute.

· Gave permission for Elizabeth Grubbs to attend a minority student recruitment effort in Sewanee, Tenn. on April 19-20 with expenses paid by the Indian Program and 11 Pike County employees to attend the Shelby County School-to-Career Partnerships’s Best Practice tour of Florida schools on April 24-27 with School-to-Career funds paying all expenses.

· Acknowledged the absences of members Linda Steed, due to the death of her mother and Adam Register because of the birth of a daughter.

· Passed resolutions acknowledging April 23-27 as Public School Week in Alabama and May 7-11 as Teacher Appreciation Week. May 8 will be Teacher Appreciation Day.