Board hires new principal, elects officers, starts policy reviews

Oneonta City Board of Education

The Oneonta City Board of Education at its regular monthly meeting took significant actions in four major categories of board operation.

(1) It hired Allison Lee as Oneonta Middle School principal, effective July 1. Lee is currently principal of Rainbow Middle School in Rainbow City. She replaces Leslie Russell who resigned to take a job elsewhere.

(2) The board elected officers for the upcoming academic year. Current president Don Maples was elected to serve a second term. Patrick Adams was elected vice-president.

(3) The board initiated the policy review process preceding the adoption of changes to four existing policies and one new policy.

(4) It also approved Superintendent Daniel Smith’s operating recommendations for the period. It approved: Personnel matters

• resignations of Jason Russell, elementary school physical education teacher and coach, and Leslie Russell, middle school principal, both effective at the end of this school year.

• employment of Emily Bender as elementary school first-grade teacher, effective Aug. 3.

• employment of Kara Green as elementary school kindergarten teacher, effective Aug. 3.

• employment of Jennifer Horton as elementary school bookkeeper, effective July 1.

• employment of Austin Owens as elementary school physical education teacher, effective Aug. 3.

• employment of Elyssa Smith as middle school sixth-grade reading teacher, effective Aug. 3.

• employment of Misty Sandlin as middle school sixth-grade English language arts teacher, effective Aug. 3. Other operating matters

• a one-time supplemental payment to Allison Lee for extra duties during the month of June at a rate of $250 per day for up to 10 days.

• create a new position of half-day assistant principal and half-day teacher for the middle school, effective with the 2020-2021 school year.

• the proposed change of order requests for stadium renovations from Game Day Athletic Surfaces and Lathan Associates Architects, in the amount of $35,414.25.

• the 36-month lease for Chromebooks with VAR Technology Finance in the amount of $629,297. Policy revisions

The board distributed for a first reading prior to adoption copies of changes to four existing policies and one new board policy. Board members will review and consider these changes prior to voting at the next regular meeting to accept them as written or with required changes. Policies with changes included:

• a change to allow the board to set and adopt annual school calendars for two consecutive years.

• a change to allow the board to change the time and place for its regular monthly board meeting to an alternate designated time and place, for good and sufficient reasons, i.e. holidays, illness, lack of a quorum.

• a change deleting language relating to high school graduation exam requirements for transfer students from non-accredited home schools.

• a change deleting the entire policy relating to non-public schools and their students taking the high school graduation exam.

A new policy entitled “Student Drivers and Extracurricular Activity Substance Abuse Policy” establishes a drug-screening program for students involved in Oneonta City Schools extracurricular activities and driving cars to school. It sets up a system of increasing sanctions for recurring screening results indicating drug use by students. Superintendent’s report

Smith noted a number of matters in his report to the board, among them being:

• indications that Gov. Kay Ivey will sign the Legislature’s record $7.1 billion education budget this week; it is considered a good budget.

• current graduation plan is July 24 at Gilbreath Stadium.

• current “Plan A” for starting the upcoming school year is Aug. 6 for students; a “Plan B” also exists in case schools are required by the state department of education to implement a uniform statewide starting date later in August.

• accolades/appreciation to teachers and administrators for the success of the blended instructional plan implemented due to the school suspension required by the coronavirus crisis.

• accolades/appreciation to school board president-elect Maples for his leadership this year in initiating and passing the bond issue leading to the current surge in construction activity across the school campus.