School system update given at Kiwanis

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Luverne Kiwanis Club member Kathi Wallace was the guest speaker at the Jan. 2 meeting.

Wallace serves on the Luverne Kiwanis Club Board of Directors and was the club's president for 2005-2006. She is also superintendent of the Crenshaw County School System.

Wallace gave an update on the state of the school system, as well as insights into future goals the system is looking to accomplish.

&#8220We have an $18.5 million operating budget this year,” Wallace said. &#8220Sixteen percent of that comes from local funds, 11 percent comes from federal funds, and 73 percent comes from state foundation units.”

Wallace credits a growing economy in Crenshaw County as just one of the reasons there is now

$1.25 million in the general fund reserve. Plus, with the passage of Statewide Amendment Two in Nov., the school system now stands to gain approximately $200,000 more in funding.

In addition to an increase in reserve funds, there has also been an increase in student enrollment in the school system.

Wallace said that there was an increase of 51 students in 2006, with the bulk of the growth being at Luverne School.

&#8220Even though it's great to see an increase in student enrollment, we currently have no vacant rooms in any of our schools,” she said. &#8220With growth come growing pains. Continued growth is going to bring us problems with space.”

That increase in student enrollment could possibly bring the addition of three more teacher units for the system.

Wallace also said that the school system recently purchased three Brantley properties that directly adjoin Brantley School. One of the houses is currently being used for gifted education classrooms.

As for future big projects, the superintendent said that Luverne School would soon be the recipient of a new cafeteria. Plus, the primary building at Highland Home School will be getting a new roof.

&#8220No more flat roofs,” Wallace said. &#8220We're going to replace the flat roof with a gabled metal roof just like you see on the new section of the Crenshaw Community Hospital.”

Wallace added that they will also be replacing and updating the bathrooms and facilities in the primary building at HHS as well.

&#8220Another major goal is to have central heating and air conditioning in all of the classrooms and to remove all of those old units,” she added.

In addition to future changes and improvements in school facilities, Wallace noted that dual enrollment would become more common in the future. When a student is in dual enrollment, he or she may receive college credit for courses taken while still in high school.

Another growing addition to the school system is the distance learning classes.

&#8220All of our Spanish classes are on it now,” she said.

With the No Child Left Behind Act in place, accountability is the name of the game from now on.

&#8220It is how we are judged by the public,” she said. &#8220All students must take all five parts of the Alabama High School Graduation Exam and pass all five parts.”

Wallace added that the school system will have a new Web site set up for the public to view, which will include financial information about the school system, actions that take place at the school board meetings and other important information.

The new school system Web site will be in place Jan. 9.