Troy proves #039;a great stop#039; for school leader

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Outgoing Troy City Schools Superintendent Hank Jones spoke at the Rotary Club meeting Tuesday afternoon. He reviewed the current condition of the school system and shared some of his experiences. Jones also shared with the club members his reasoning for supporting Amendment 1.

Jones stopped in Troy the Friday before Labor Day in 1969 to visit a friend. He was on his way to Florence State Teachers College, but after looking at Troy State University's campus, he decided to stay.

He started school within a matter of days.

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"For me, that's been a great stop," he said.

Almost right away Jones began his involvement in the Troy City School System.

He taught fifth grade at the old Elm Street elementary school and was principal at the school on Seagars Street and Oakland Heights. He was also the first principal at the new Troy Elementary School when it opened in 1990.

Jones said he has been blessed over the years with community support, which includes the mayor and everyone on city council to the teachers and parents.

"It has been a great opportunity for me to be there and work with the people I worked for everyday," he said.

He also noted the strong working relationship between Troy City and Pike County schools.

"We have been blessed in many ways," he said, referring especially to the extra 1 cent sales tax the Pike County Commission approved.

When Jones became superintendent in 1996, the school system had around $1,700,000 in reserve funds. Last year, Jones said the system had $5,771,947 in reserve.

Still, Jones said the system lacks the funding it needs to offer programs it offered five years ago or upgrade technology.

He said a yes vote on September 9 would instantly bring the school system $2.4 million. Jones said $1 million of that figure was one time only money meant to make up for the many years the school system was under-funded.

"It isn't near enough, but it helps," he said.

Jones said Amendment 1 was important to schools and called Gov. Bob Riley a "statesman who is serving as governor."

"This is an opportunity for all of us as Alabamaians to step forward and do what is really the right thing for the people of Alabama," he said.