BY KENDYL HOLLINSWORTH
LEE COUNTY —
The Lee County Board of Education reviewed a positive financial report and approved several items on the agenda at its Oct. 11 regular meeting.
This was Napoleon “Sonny” Stringer’s first meeting back on the Lee Count Board of Education. On Oct. 6, the board appointed Stringer to fill the District 7 seat, which covers Smiths Station, following the Sept. 7 death of previous District 7 Board Member Brian Roberson.
“Welcome back, Mr. Stringer,” said Board President Larry Boswell at the beginning of the meeting.
Lee County Chief School Financial Officer Ken Roberts presented the monthly financial report and cash reconciliation for August 2022 as part of the superintendent’s report.
Roberts said the school board is spending within the budget. The spending came out to just under 90%, according to his presentation.
“We’re staying under budget, but very close to budget, so I think that speaks to restraint in terms of spending, but also that you have a good budget to approve,” he said.
Growth in local revenue has also been “solid,” according to Roberts. It is running 7% ahead of where it was last year, spurred on by property and sales taxes. Projected growth in local revenue is a little more than $2 million, or about 13%, according to the presentation.
“That continues to be critical,” he said. “That 7% funds locally funded teacher units. It funds a lot of the expenditures that the state doesn’t pay for that run our schools. It allows us to go above and beyond in impact instruction in the classroom, which you have in terms of local units and materials, and things of that nature, and that’s what that money goes toward.”
Roberts said the school system’s investment strategy has not changed in recent years.
In other business, the board approved the following items on the agenda:
• a request to push the date of the next regular board meeting to Tuesday, Nov. 15 because of Election Day on Nov. 8;
• the award of a roofing bid to Bond Construction, LLC for just over $2.5 million to install roofing at Smiths Station Junior High School;
• the purchase of property in Smiths Station appraised for $170,000;
• a revision to Policy 5.61, the Student Health Services Mental Health Policy Opt-in Form, which was amended by the Alabama State Department of Education; and
• various out-of-state/overnight field trips for several different schools in the county.
In addition, the school board had a first reading of Policy 5.40, “Student Attendance, Absences and Truancy.” The board has not voted on the policy yet.
Of the roofing work set for Smiths Station Junior High School, Lee County Schools Assistant Superintendent of Operations Marcus Fuller said the project is part of the school system’s efforts to make sure all the schools’ roofs are up to date.
“All the areas that need to be addressed at the junior high school will be addressed,” Fuller said. “All the areas at the high school will be addressed. I’ve actually compiled a list of all the areas that we’ve gone through in Lee County since I’ve been here to make sure that we have no roofing leaks at any of the sites once we do our install or repairs.”
As for the piece of land in Smiths Station the school board plans to purchase, Lee County Schools Superintendent Dr. Mac McCoy said it will hopefully provide an upgrade to the transportation in that area.
“Bottom line is, it’s the office building across from the junior high that is adjacent to the parking lot so that we can move eventually … the Smiths Station transportation unit to that house and possibly build a garage on that side of the county,” McCoy explained.
The board was also informed of the Lee County Schools Seclusion and Restraint Monthly Report, as well as the annual inspection of Lee County’s school buses.
“Of the 188 buses inspected, no buses were found to have any major deficiencies,” according to the meeting agenda.
During the executive session, the board discussed a couple of student expulsion cases in addition to topics like job performance, physical condition, professional confidence and more. Boswell said the board does not vote on anything during an executive session.
After the session, the board approved various Human Resources recommendations — such as employment, transfers, leaves of absence and more — and the expulsion of the two students.