NAACP, BOE discuss Head Start, teachers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Opp City School Board on Wednesday once again heard from the Covington County NAACP on issues related to teachers and Head Start.

Aaron Bogen, president of the NAACP, and Holley Brundidge, vice president were on hand.

At a previous meeting, Bogen alleged that the system was overlooking qualified minority applicants, and Superintendent Michael Smithart requested Bogen provide a list of those applicants to him.

Bogen said on Wednesday he had a list of six or seven applicants; however, he refused to hand over the list to the school board.

Smithart and board president Rothel Moody offered to go into executive session to discuss the names with Bogen and Brundidge in order to protect the good name and character of the alleged applicants.

However, Bogen declined.

“You don’t know six or seven people,” Smithart said.

The second issue Bogen brought up was the roof leaking at Opp’s Head Start, which is housed in the South Highland’s Elementary School building. Bogen was concerned because he had been told the board would not fix the leaks until the summer.

“I think the facts will trump a lot of what you are saying,” Smithart said.

“We are getting quotes,” he said. “(Councilwoman) Mary Brundidge is heading it up. Head Start is contracted with the city, not the board.”

Smithart explained that the Department of Human Resources will not allow any construction to take place while students are in the building.

Brundidge asked if it was possible for the replacement to be done during fall or Christmas break.

“It might have to wait until summer,” Smithart said. “OCS does own the building, but we must follow DHR’s rules.”

Board member Dr. Walter Burgess explained to Bogen that Smithart’s hands were tied.

“It’s not a personal issue,” he said. “I don’t think anyone wants kids to get sick or a building to leak. Anyone who owns a building doesn’t want it to leak.”