By Will Fairless
For the
Opelika Observer

In their meeting last Tuesday, members of the Lee County Schoolboard discussed a proposal that will go in front of the Alabama Legislature to extend school hours. The bill would, among other things, set high school hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5:40 p.m. and introduce a second semester schedule that would run straight through from Jan. 4 to May 28.
The board generally agreed that, although there is not much to be done yet as the bill is still in its earliest stages, they are against any legislation that shifts the power to set school calendars from the local boards to the state.
Dr. Mac McCoy, the superintendent of the Lee County Schoolboard, released the following statement to the Observer:
“Much could be said about the idea of a state mandated calendar. One might even be able to justify reasons why the school year should start after Labor Day or even rationalize why it should end before Memorial Day. Unfortunately, using these parameters would produce a calendar that is nearly impossible to justify to our community. The bottom line is nothing should give authority to the state for taking the decision away from the Local Boards of Education. School calendars should remain a decision of the Local Board!”
The board also recognized a Teacher of the Year from each of the 14 schools in the district. Principals from those schools introduced the winning teachers with glowing descriptions of the work for which they earned the awards. Following is a list of the winning teachers:
Beauregard Elementary – Dawn Weatherley
Beauregard High – Shane Lake
Beulah Elementary – Emily Sheffield
Beulah High – Jeffery Lamb
East Smiths Station Elementary – Jamie Clay
Loachapoka Elementary – Marian Carter
Loachapoka High – Hope Felton
Sanford Middle – Lynn Bailey
Smiths Station Freshman Center – Robert Pickard
Smiths Station Junior High – Cathy Wade
South Smiths Station Elementary – Tracey Robinson
Wacoochee Elementary – Julie Anne Eldred
West Smiths Station Elementary – Amanda Carter
In other business, the board:

  • approved minutes from the Jan. 14 meeting
  • approved the proposed 2020-21 school calendar
  • approved five out-of-state or overnight field trips and
  • heard the monthly financial report and cash reconciliation for December.
    Meetings are held monthly at the Lee County Board of Education’s Central Office located at 2410 Society Hill Road in Opelika. For more information, visit