Looney updates Rotary Club on system’s progress

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 16, 2007

Personnel decisions and last-minute details occupy most of Mike Looney's time these days as the Butler County Public Schools system moves toward the beginning of the 2007-08 school year.

Teachers report Aug. 6. Students report Aug. 9. But while classrooms have been relatively silent, Looney, starting his third year as superintendent, other administrators and staffers have been busy.

Members of the Greenville Rotary Club got a quick, but detailed, snapshot of both progress and plans at the club's weekly meeting Thursday.

Looney said:

n Though numbers will change as classes actually begin, the current enrollment is expected to be 3,492 students. Of that number, 12 are Koreans, 6 are Hispanics.

n Staff openings remain for a reading coordinator, a science teacher and two special education teachers.

n Velton Robinson will be recommended as the new Greenville head basketball and assistant football coach when the system's board of education meets Thursday. A graduate of Carson Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn., he played NBA ball in the European developmental league. David Godwin will be recommended as the new strength coach. He is currently with the Dothan school system.

n Final installment of $15,000 has been made on the property for the new school at Georgiana, so it now belongs to the school system. When construction begins it will likely be closer to the road than many might expect. Architects estimate the distance to be 150 feet. That's to reduce the amount of dirt that might otherwise be needed to move.

n Site work on the Georgiana school is scheduled begin this fall with a tentative opening set for August 2009. Bids will be let Sept. 17.

n Money for the $25 million bond issue has been transferred and is now deposited and earning interest at Peoples Bank and Trust Co.

n An architectural drawing of the new wing at W.O. Parmer Elementary and the school in Georgiana should be available soon.

nThe recommendation to accept a $350,000 bid for a concession stand at Georgiana will be made Thursday. It is the second lowest bid. The low bidder withdrew.

n The Greenville Police Department's patrol unit will move to the old annex of the old Greenville High School.

n The Boys and Girls Club will also move to the old high school. Many youngsters already go there for the tutoring problem and the cost of busing them there will be reduced.

n A recommendation to increase full price lunches to $1.50 will be made Thursday. That is up from $1.35. No changes are expected in the free lunch program.

n W.O. Parmer will offer a staffed arts program.

n The music program will continued at Greenville Elementary.

n Red shirts have been added to the dress code, providing additional flexibility for all students.

n Distance learning classes are becoming more popular primarily because there is a shortage of math and science teachers. All three high school campuses have at least two programs in operation.

n ROTC student participation continues to dwindle, but the system's commitment remains firm. Hopes are improved recruiting efforts will generate a more viable program.

n The system is working with the ministerial alliance to develop a mentoring program for students at Greenville Middle School. The program will likely center on the lunch hour.

n Greenville Middle School will have its own band and band director this year. Christopher Pryor assumes that position.

n No decisions have been reached on what ultimately happens to the existing Georgiana facilities once the new school is completed. Hopes are community needs can be addressed.

n There are no plans to replace the Georgiana stadium at this time.

n The Butler County Head Start program has expressed interest in the R.L. Austin building.

n A new stadium at Greenville High is not in the immediate plans and it is not part of the $25 million bond issue project. A stadium feasibility study will be undertaken in the near future.

n Plans do call for construction of an athletic facility at Greenville High. It will include a weight room and a locker room. Also, a new track will be built around the practice field on campus. Interestingly, the practice field will be dropped eight feet so that if a stadium is eventually built there, its improved line of sight will already be in place. Should dirt be needed for the Georgiana project, it will be moved from the practice field site.

n Work on phase one of the Greenville Middle School project has begun. A new bus loading area is now under construction.

n He predicts all three Butler County football programs should be competitive.

n Rumor is McKenzie will host Spanish Fort in a pre-season jamboree. Former Greenville coach Bryant Vincent coaches Spanish Fort.

n The annual Greenville-Georgiana Battle of Butler County football game should be competitive. Looney will watch from the end zone, showing no preference to either school.

Thursday's board meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the central office on Administrative Drive.