School system closes pre-kindergarten program

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By Donna
Williamson
Opelika Observer

Dr. Mark Neighbors, superintendent, announced at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting that the Pre-Kindergarten Program will not be funded next year.
Neighbors explained that over the years funds have been cut and grants have run out. Title 1 moneys and local moneys make up the $330,000.00 that it takes to serve 45 pre-kindergarten students. In the past these students have been chosen via lottery and taught by certified teachers.
“The Pre-K program has been a great asset,” Neighbors said.  “However, we can use that money to do more and serve more children. The Pre-K teachers will be reassigned and because of increased enrollment, we are looking to add four more elementary teachers, along with an English Language Learning teacher.”
The state pre-kindergarten program is only offered to a small percentage of Alabama students and Opelika is not included in that group.
In other business, the board gave approval for the Opelika High School girls’ basketball team to travel to Starkville, MS on June 14-16 to attend a basketball skills clinic.
The school board approved the low bid of $35,000.00 to TNT Maintenance & Painting in Opelika for interior and exterior painting at Carver Elementary School.The board gave certificates of affirmation to Katy Leonard who has been reappointed to the school board and to newly selected board member Dr. Kevin Royal. The certificate of affirmation is related to the Local School Board Governance Rule and is required to be signed by all new and reappointed board members.
Chris Harrison, chief financial offer, in his monthly financial report, told board members, “We are halfway through the fiscal year. The expenditures are in line with where we are in the year and the revenues are a little bit ahead.”
The board also approved various personnel recommendations, including the hiring of David “Neil” Sasser as Opelika High School band director.
The retirement tea is scheduled for May 19 at 3:30 p.m. at Jeter Primary School. The board meeting will follow at 4:15 p.m. in the Activity Room.

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