Looney introduces school plan to county

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 17, 2005

Superintendent Mike Looney met with the Butler County Commission on Monday to introduce the Board of Education's strategic plan for all county school systems.

Looney allowed the commission a chance to view a 10-minute video each Board of Education member will show to parents in each of their school districts. The meetings are on-going this month, as part of Looney and the board's plan to get parents more involved with the school system.

Commission Chairman Jesse McWilliams was enthused about the video and the board's willingness to reach out to parents and their children.

&#8220When people come into the county the first thing they ask about is the school system,” said McWilliams.

Looney also distributed questionnaires to the commission, entitled &#822020 Questions for EVERYONE.” These questionnaires, he said, would help provide the board with information and opinions from parents countywide about what they'd like to have in a school system. The form includes a space to rate each school building and facility in Georgiana, McKenzie and Greenville, and also asks specific questions about the school system itself such as whether or not school funding is used wisely and if safety for students is a concern.

Forms may be returned to any school official, or may be mailed to: Marietta Williams, Alabama Power Co., P.O. Box 2641, 17N-0015, Birmingham, AL 35291-0015.

Looney said Alabama Power Co. allowed the board use of a staff person familiar with organizing data such as that collected by questionnaire.

&#8220We wanted the data to be gathered by a non-biased party,” he said.

Commissioner Daniel Robinson said a willing interaction between the schools and the community is needed for the school system to thrive.

&#8220This is the first I've ever had a superintendent come out and try to get the parents involved in the school system,” he said.

While Commissioner Glenn King welcomed any positive changes Looney and the board bring, he went on record and said he hoped consolidation of the school system wasn't being considered.

&#8220I'm opposed to that,” he said. &#8220Maybe it won't come to that.”

The commission also approved a rate increase for monthly garbage services by BFI/Allied Waste. Total cost for garbage pick-up in the rural areas of the county is currently $11.87. That will be raised to $14.75 with an additional .50 cents added on next year per agreement with Allied Waste's contract with the county.

&#8220We did not want to go up on this,” said McWilliams. &#8220But we were left with no other alternative. Allied Waste worked with us to lower the costs from what they originally proposed.”