By Donna Williamson

Opelika Observer

The Opelika City Board of Education honored its 19 retirees at a ceremony held on Tuesday afternoon at Jeter Primary School. Dr. Mark Neighbors, superintendent, thanked the retirees for their service to children and to the community.

At the school board meeting, which followed the retiree ceremony, Neighbors recognized students for their achievements during the past school year. (Editor’s note: Next week “The Observer” will publish the full list of students recognized at Tuesday’s meeting.) Certificates or plaques were given to winners of the Superintendent’s Art Show, Congressional District Art Competition, Boys’ and Girls’ Indoor and Outdoor Track, All-State Band, State Trumbauer Theatre Competition, and Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) writing competition in the state and Southeast Division.

The art winners may have their works matted and framed by the school board and put on display for the next school year at the Opelika City Schools’ central office.

Neighbors recognized Opelika High School student Anna Lazenby for receiving the 2014 Congressional District Art Competition’s “Best of Show” award. Lazenby’s art will be on display in the Cannon Tunnel in Washington, D.C. for the next school year.

Dr. Charles Hannah, advisor of Opelika High School’s literary magazine Perspectives, along with magazine editor Grace Kriel, presented copies of the award-winning magazine to Neighbors and board members.

The board approved an agreement with Kelly Services to handle all substitute staffing issues. Neighbors explained that because of the Affordable Health Care Act, anyone who works over 30 hours a week is eligible for benefits. Kelly Services will handle all aspects of substitute staffing, which includes keeping track of the number of hours worked. Bob Meadows, board member, noted that other systems which use this service have been very pleased with the results.

According to Neighbors, employees may request a substitute online until 6 a.m. on the day they will be absent.  After 6 a.m. employees must call the service directly. Principals may go online to see which employees will be absent and which substitutes have been assigned. All substitutes must go through a training process with Kelly Services in order to be added to the substitute list.

In other business, the board

– Approved the implementation of strategic plan goals and belief statements by Opelika City Schools.

– Approved for the Opelika High School softball team to attend the Higher Ground Softball Camp in Cartersville, Ga., in July.

– Approved the reappointment of O. D. Alsobrook, III as board chairman and Joe N. Pinkard as vice chairman.

– Approved employment, transfers, retirements, and resignations for Opelika City Schools.