Board approves $12 million budget for city schools

The Oneonta City Board of Education approved a 2010-2011 system budget of $12,068,030 in expenditures. That figure exceeds projected revenues by just over $33,500.

In the pre-meeting budget hearing, system officials indicated they hope the revenue projection remains firm but fear the governor may have to declare proration should the economy not reach the estimated one-percent growth over the next year.

Supt. Scott Coefield reviewed in the hearing and board meeting the system’s reserves and matters to consider for continued financial stability.

Coefield released day-seven figures for school enrollments. The elementary school exceeded the past year’s number (792) and projection (793) with 799 students. The high school fell below both, however, with 652 students compared to last year’s 653 and the estimated 660. The board had approved several out-ofdistrict students for both schools earlier in the meeting.

The superindent detailed studentteacher ratios and explained concerns he had with a couple of grades that had higher student numbers than recommended. He said he was comfortable with the breakdowns by K-3, 4-6, and 7- 12 categories. He detailed the addition of an aide in elementary school to assist with an autistic kindergartner; he indicated he anticipates the student may become acclimated before the year ends and not need the aide.

Updating the board on summer projects, Coefield announced completion of the sewer-pipe replacement and removal of mold from some areas of the building. The schools are following workers’ recommendations to operate heating and air year-round and to address air flow in designated areas. Answering board member Winston Scott’s question, Coefield said examiners had returned to inspect the school and found no reappearance of the mold.

The board accepted the resignation of part-time bus mechanic Phillip Mulkey and named Ladd Cox to assume those duties and others on a full-time basis. Coefield had told member Cindy Tidwell that the system had not had adequate staffing to do all the summer work needed, in explaining the expansion of the position to full time.

Through a PowerPoint presentation, Coefield detailed how the system had failed to make AYP (adequate yearly progress). He noted the high school had failed to reach one of its 17 goals by dropping to an 89-percent graduation rate for 2009. Since the school had previously had a 90-percent rate, it must reach at least that level to achieve the graduationrate goal. Some other schools had a lower rate in 2009 but made AYP because they had never reached the 90th percentile. Since the system has only two schools (elementary and high) and failed to reach AYP in one, it was listed at only 50 percent toward AYP.

The board hired Rachel Jimerson and Donya Hawks as part-time child nutrition workers and Jenny Harris as inschool suspension aide. They approved high school choral music teacher Sara Towns’s request for leave.

Beyond personnel matters, the board approved use of school facilities for chamber-of-commerce-sponsored beauty pageants in September and October. Besides the system budget, board members also approved the Alabama Student Assistance Program (ASAP) budget as presented by contract employee Beverly Ellis.

Coefield addressed prospects for school growth with the projected construction of the so-called northern beltline. He foresees growth beginning with the completion of the first phase connecting Alabama highways 75 and 79.

All members attended the meeting, with Don Maples, Robbie McAlpine, and Geoff Smith joining Scott and Tidwell. Recently elected new member Kitty Cheak and more than 50 Oneonta High School seniors joined other observers for the Aug. 30 meeting. The board holds its regular meetings the last Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the boardroom. The September meeting, as was the August one, will be in the high school library to accommodate senior government students observing.