Money dominates BOE meeting

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Financial discussions dominated Monday's regular meeting of the Andalusia City Board of Education, a session in which the board approved the non-renewal of 13 teachers or support staff.

The non-renewals included six persons from Andalusia High School, three from Andalusia Middle School and three from Andalusia Elementary School, as well as one person from the maintenance department.

The meeting was attended by Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson, who spoke briefly about the financial problems affecting the Andalusia system and other school systems in the state.

Andalusia School System Superintendent Pete Kelley opened his remarks regarding the system's financial status by noting the board would have "the unpleasant chore of releasing some teachers at the end of this school year."

Kelley reported that a meeting was held with

state superintendents on April 29, and at that meeting, superintendents were asked to delay any possible non-renewals in hopes that some type of plan would come from the state legislature to fund teacher units the systems earn from the state at the same level for next year as they are funded this year.

He said as of Monday, this had not occurred and that a special session of the legislature will not take place until May 19.

Kelley said in order for students in the system to be able to participate in programs that have typically benefited them, new methods of generating revenue for education will have to be found.

During his comments, Johnson said he definitely has empathy for the Andalusia system and for other systems in the state.

"I have all the empathy in the world for the financial situation that we find ourselves in," said Johnson, who noted that approximately 13 percent of the city budget is appropriated toward Andalusia schools.

"Whatever we are paying in (for the schools), it is not enough to cover your problem," said Johnson. "I have talked to the governor's office and have talked to some key legislative people and they tell me to sit still until the legislature gets through with its special session. I know that doesn't make your job any easier when you have to go to these teachers and say we can't renew your contract."

In other business discussed at Monday's meeting, the Andalusia City Board of Education:

Recognized six retirees from the school system,

including Kathy Enzor, Pat Stewart, Gwendlyn Weaver, Jackie McDanal, Paul Woolley and Nancy Schlemeier.

The retirees were honored with plaques. "This group (of retirees) right here represents 187 years of education and they are going to be hard to replace," said Kelley. Board chairman Dr. Michael Wells thanked the teachers for their years of dedicated service and said they will definitely be missed.

Approved several personnel items, including resignations of Johnny Brewer, band director at Andalusia Middle School, Marsielena Redding, a math teacher at Andalusia High School and Pat Stewart, a teacher's aide at Andalusia High School.

The items also included a transfer of Kunshinge Howard from physical education teacher at Andalusia High School to a teacher's aide assignment to be forthcoming and Cassie Battey from math teacher at Andalusia Middle School to teacher's aide assignment to be forthcoming.

Approved a policy change in the dual enrollment program at Andalusia High School.

Heard a construction update from Andalusia Middle School Principal Neal Dansby.

Set the date of the next meeting for June 25.

Approved the minutes of the April 21 meeting.

-- Editor's Note: In the Thursday edition of the Andalusia Star-News, we will publish the names of the teachers who were terminated at the Andalusia City Schools Board of Education meeting Monday night.