BY KENDYL HOLLINGSWORTH
LEE COUNTY —
It’s official — Smiths Station High School has a new head football coach.
The Lee County Board of Education approved the hire of Bryant Garrison at its Feb. 14 meeting.
“I’d like to first welcome you, coach Garrison, to the community of Lee County, specifically Smiths Station,” Superintendent Mac McCoy told Garrison at the meeting. “We’re looking forward to seeing what you can do with our kids, and we’re glad to have you here.”
Garrison succeeds Mike Glisson, who announced his resignation in December 2022 after five seasons as the Panthers’ head football coach. Glisson had served in that role since 2018 and previously served as defensive coordinator for the Beauregard High School Hornets. He was also head football coach for the Glenwood Gators in the late ‘90s.
Garrison comes to Smiths Station High School after a season as head football coach for the Slocomb High School Redtops. According to WTVY News 4 in Dothan, Garrison has coaching experience that spans the past decade, serving as defensive coordinator and head strength and conditioning coach at Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville, Georgia. This will be his second run as a head coach.
Earlier in the meeting, the board officially selected Schneider Electric to be an energy partner of Lee County Schools, per the superintendent’s recommendation.
At the Jan. 10 board meeting, representatives from Schneider Electric gave a presentation on what that partnership means and how it could benefit Lee County Schools as it has several other school systems across the state. The end goal is to cut down on energy costs so that more funds can be allocated to the classroom.
Now that the partnership has formed, the board will allow Schneider to assess areas for improvement in the schools.
The board also approved amendments to the contracts for the superintendent and chief school financial officer, but according to District 5 Board President Ralph Henderson, the changes are minor — just verbiage — and will not alter any part of the agreements already set forth.
Lee County CSFO Ken Roberts also gave his monthly financial report for December 2022. Roberts said at the previous board meeting that it was too soon for the information to provide meaningful data as it relates to budget goals. But now that the first quarter of the fiscal year has come to pass, the data can start to reveal where the system is headed.
By the end of the first quarter, Roberts said Lee County Schools has spent just over 25% of its budget. In addition, local revenue has increased 29% over the last five years with an average annual growth of 5 to 6%. Payroll has also increased about 7 or 8% compared to the first quarter of the previous fiscal year.
“Obviously, we had a 4% cost of living raise, we had larger raises for advanced degrees and more years of experience, so that is where we’re at there,” Roberts explained. State-mandated raises also contributed to the increase.
Roberts said Lee County Schools is also working to diversify its investments.
“We technically have $23 million of our reserves at the moment currently invested, and we’ve committed to $20 to 28 million, depending on cash flow, depending on what our needs are,” he added.
IN OTHER BUSINESS:
• The board approved various overnight and out-of-state field trips for students.
• The board approved the Lee County Schools Seclusion and Restraint monthly report for January 2023.
• The board approved pupil personnel service recommendations.
• The board also approved four student expulsions.
McCoy said all members of the Lee County Board of Education are set to take part in a training next month.
The meeting closed with public comments from four citizens, three of whom spoke at the Jan. 10 board meeting. They each reiterated the need for action in what they deem inappropriate in the schools, such as LGBTQ clubs, sex education and students being disruptive with animal-like behavior. The fourth speaker raised concerns about the “dangerous” behavior of one of his daughter’s elementary school classmates.
The Lee County Board of Education typically meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. in the central office, located at 2410 Society Hill Road in Opelika. Find the schedule and meeting agendas at www.lee.k12.al.us/domain/1399.