The Blount County Board of Education received a summary report from Blount County Schools’ federal programs coordinator Craig Sosebee on a school system task force’s budget recommendations in connection with a federal CARES Act allocation of nearly $1.5 million. It is anticipated that the allocation from the state department of education will cover the next two years.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) – Congress’s third COVID-19 supplemental relief bill – provides economic relief to help public school districts mitigate the costs of responding to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Allotments are based on student population by districts statewide.
As a result of the task force’s fact-finding, a suggested plan for use of the CARES funds over the next two years was developed. Briefly, the plan includes:
• expanded professional development training related to online learning, already in progress
• additional cleaning equipment and supplies (electrostatic sprayers, gloves, masks, hand sanitizer and dispensers, etc.)
• enhanced technology provisions (e.g. portable Wi-Fi stations deployed on school buses)
• additional technology support personnel (2)
• additional reading coach
• additional nursing personnel (2) and health-related equipment such as infrared thermometers for each school
• a special principal’s discretionary fund, with the amount determined by student enrollment, for each school for miscellaneous needs, such as school cleaning.
“We’re aiming with this budget to support student learning, health, and safety as much as possible, as well as staff welfare,” said Blount County Schools Superintendent Rodney Green.
After hearing the CARES budget report and brief comments on other matters, the board approved Green’s operating recommendations, focused largely on personnel, for the period. It approved:
• the 2020-2021 salary schedule, effective July 1.
• the Blount County Schools Parent Student Handbook, the Student Code of Conduct, and school handbooks for the 2020-2021 school year.
• Hayden High School varsity cheerleaders cheer camp at The Vision in Huntsville, July 20-24.
• allowing Hayden High School to borrow $100,000 to complete the press box, concession stand, and restrooms at Robert Reid Stadium.
• amending the 2020 summer literacy camps and Susan Moore Dreamcatchers daily summer camp to add additional staff positions.
• Blount County Board of Education’s contract/agreements with: Blount County Juvenile Court for attendance early warning services and intervention services when necessary by the court; All Talk LLC for the 2020-2021 school year; Paige Moore for developmental evaluations during the summer of 2020; The Learning Tree, from Sept. 16, 2020, to Sept. 15, 2021; Lisa Butler to provide counseling sessions from June 9 to July 19; Rynthia McCoy to provide achievement/ developmental evaluations for special education referrals; Alabama Pediatric Therapy Services, from June 18, 2020, to June 17, 2021; Valerie Reid for summer bookkeeping services and training for new bookkeeper from June 2 to July 31; Linda Tipton for bookkeeping services for the transportation and maintenance departments from June 22 to Sept. 30.
• Hayden High School’s contracts with: Terry Purdy to provide 20 days of training for the school’s new INOW information systems specialist; 2020 band camp contracts
• Hayden Primary School’s contracts with: Denise Moore to provide custodial services from June 23 to July 10; Terri Bolton to provide services at the school during the summer of 2020.
• placing Stevie Long, psychometrist for Blount County Schools, on a 10-month contract, effective with the 2020-2021 school year.
• granting a leave of absence to Darlene Richardson, custodian at Locust Fork High School, from June 8 to June 20.
• Amanda Courington, math teacher at Locust Fork High School, effective June 10.
• Cheri Grabany, bookkeeper at Hayden Elementary school, effective July 1 (retirement).
• John Gregory Neill, teacher at J.B. Pennington High School, effective July 1 (retirement).
• Stephen Skillman, network technician for Blount County Schools, effective June 30.
• Debbie Woods, school bus aide for the Blount County Learning Center, effective June 1.
• Carolyn Hargett, from physical education aide at Hayden Middle School to information systems specialist at Hayden High School, effective July 28.
• Zachary Jones, from teacher at Cleveland High School to assistant principal at Cleveland High School, effective July 20.
• Paige Paris Latta, from teacher at Appalachian School to reading specialist for Blount County Schools, effective Aug. 3.
• Kris Holt Tanner, from teacher at Susan Moore Elementary School to teacher at Cleveland Elementary School, effective Aug. 3.
Employment – certified
• James Bret Andrews, social science teacher at Southeastern, effective Aug. 3.
• Kelli Cooper, elementary teacher at Southeastern, effective Aug. 3 and contingent on background clearance from the Alabama State Department of Education.
• Linda Finch, special education teacher at Appalachian, effective Aug. 3.
• John Michael Lauderdale, special education teacher at Cleveland High School, effective Aug. 3, contingent on certification.
• Christopher Longshore, Building and Construction Academy instructor at the Blount County Career Technical Center, effective July 27, contingent on certification.
• Leigh-Allison Lybrand, elementary teacher at Appalachian, effective Aug. 3.
• Robert Christopher McCrackin, assistant principal at Hayden High School, effective July 20.
•Lauryn Analee Daniel Malone, pre-K teacher at Susan Moore Elementary School, effective Aug. 3.
• Abbie Martin, elementary teacher at Southeastern, effective Aug. 3.
• Anna Lane VanZandt, teacher at Blountsville Elementary School, effective Aug. 3, contingent on certification.
Employment – classified (support)
• Lacey Bailey, pre-K auxiliary teacher at Susan Moore Elementary School, effective Aug. 3 and contingent on background clearance through the ALSDE.
• Wes McKinney, school bus driver for Appalachian, effective Aug. 4.
• Dana Metz, special education aide at J.B. Pennington High School, effective Aug. 5.
• Chelsea Roper, special education aide at Hayden Middle School, effective Aug. 5.
• Michelle Lafon Winnett, school bookkeeper at Hayden Middle School, effective July 20.
• Patrick Johnson, diesel mechanic/ technician for the transportation department, effective July 6.
• allowing Southeastern’s boys basketball team to host a one-day camp presented by Birmingham Southern College on June 24.
• providing stipends for up to 40 trainers for AIMSWEBPLUS professional development (for K-8 reading and math assessment); training dates to be determined.
• awarding the stair lift bid for the Hayden High School pressbox to Garaventa USA Inc. of Prattville for $28,404.
• allowing students to transfer to the St. Clair County school system during the 2020-2021 school year. (The Blount County Board of Education assumes no liability in connection with the release.)
All members of the board were present at the business meeting. The next regular board meeting is July 6, at 1 p.m., at the district central office adjacent to the courthouse in Oneonta.