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School board approves system calendar for 2020-2021

By Barry H. Hendrix

The Thomasville City Board of Education approved Feb. 25 the system calendar for the 2020-2021 school year in a meeting held in the Thomasville High School library.

The first day for students is Aug. 6, and the last day for students is May 27. Christmas/Winter Break will be held from Dec. 21, 2020, to Jan. 4, 2021. Spring Break will be held March 22-26, 2021.

However, despite the approval of the calendar, some members of the Alabama Legislature are floating a bill, which would mandate that the school year start after Labor Day and end before the Memorial Day.

The bill has still not been formally submitted, said school superintendent Garth Moss. However, there are still rumblings, “and there is some talk about some compromise…before the bill is submitted,” he said.

In addition, the superintendent advised board members and the public to educate themselves on Amendment 1, which will be voted on in the upcoming Tuesday, March 3 election. “I encourage you to think long and hard about that vote,” Moss said. Voting Yes will mean citizens will give up the right to elect their representatives to the state school board. The State Board of Education will be renamed as the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education, those commission members will go from being elected by voters to being appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.

If Amendment 1 is successful, “there is no transition plan,” Moss said. “If that amendment passes on March 3, on March 4, the state school board and the state superintendent are all out of a job.”

In other action from the Feb. 25 meeting, Avery Ford, chief school financial officer, gave the financial report for January 2020. Payroll for January totaled $775,751.40, and accounts payable totaled $217,545.19.

• Moss reported that he would be meeting with officials from Coastal Alabama Community College on Feb. 26 about expanding the career tech courses available through Dual Enrollment. The school system also hopes to establish a bus route for dual enrollment THS students twice-a-day to the Thomasville Coastal campus, the superintendent said.

The following personnel actions were approved Feb. 25 by the Thomasville City Board of Education:

(leave request)

Quentin Owes, custodian at Thomasville High School, Family Medical Leave, effective March 19 to May 8;

Wendy Norton, teacher at Thomasville Elementary School, on-the-job injury, effective Feb. 6 to March 27;

(volunteer)

Michael Ryland Signor, THS;

(employment in positions)

Emily Harvell, math teacher at THS, effective for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year;

Cecilia Davis, substitute nurse, effective for the 2019-2020 school year, pending background review;

(employment in supplemental position)

Dewitt Atkins, assistant boys’ varsity and junior varsity basketball coach, effective for 2019-2020 season.

• The superintendent expects to have a recommendation for the new Thomasville Middle School principal at the April board meeting. Lighting is currently being replaced in the second floor rooms of the middle school building with new LED lighting, Moss said. Once the school year ends, they will move to the first floor.

• “Teachers of the Year” and “Employees of the Year” for THS and TES will be recognized at the March board meeting, Moss said.

• The board approved a contract agreement with the Pay PAMS online service to offer certain payment-related services to school system food service program for its students.

• A contract agreement was approved for Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough, Howell, Huggins and Bradley, P.A., of Chatom, to provide local legal services to the school system.

• A contract agreement was approved for law firm Bishop, Colvin, Johnson and Kent, LLC, of Birmingham, to provide supplemental support and assistance to the school board.

Long time school board attorney Donald Sweeney recently retired. These contracts are on an on-need basis, Moss said.

• Amendment No. 1 was approved for the Fiscal Year 2020 school budget. The amendment includes budgeting of carry-over funds, actual beginning balances, additional revenues, and other adjustments due to program changes.

• A revised salary schedule for substitute rates was also approved.

• The board went into executive session at the end of the meeting to discuss student discipline. No action was taken after the session.

• The next school board meeting will be at 6 p.m. on March 17 in the THS library. The public is invited.