City schools seek funding for tech

Published 12:47 am Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Proposed computer labs would set local education system apart

Andalusia Superintendent of Education Ted Watson on Tuesday presented the city council with the board’s funding request for the 2018-19 school year.

Mayor Earl Johnson reminded council members that language in the city ordinance authorizing a half-cent sales tax for education requires the board to present its annual proposal and request for use of the money in July.

The board is requesting:

  • $500,000 toward the Andalusia High School auditorium/stadium project, currently under way.

“The rain is killing us on the projects right now, but we do have a plan to make the venue a workable venue when the first home game takes place,” Watson said. “We have been in communication with the Building Commission.”

  • $110,000 for the system’s Apple computer lease. The lease puts 1,347 ipads, laptops and desktops in the school system.
  • $75,000 for continuation of the music program at AHS.
  • $262,000 for the STEM/CTE initiative.

The allocation includes $212,000 to implement four V-Tech labs, including one each at Andalusia Elementary and Andalusia Junior High, and two at AHS.

“This equipment sets us apart,” Watson said. “The closest school doing anything like this is Enterprise, and they only have one lab. We are looking to put in four.”

The allocation also includes $15,000 for an analyst and $35,000 for equipment needed to run the new video board in the stadium. Students will learn to manage the equipment and produce video in a career tech class.

Watson said initially, he expects four or five students to be involved, but by the second year, he hopes to include as many as 20.

  • $15,000 for contingency funds.
  • $108,000 for the first year’s debt service on the construction bond funding the AHS projects.

The council took no action on the request.

In other business, the council:

  • unanimously authorized the mayor to enter a contract with the Department of Transportation for a resurfacing grant. The funding was secured for the city by Rep. Mike Jones, with the understanding that the savings in paving costs realized by the city would be passed on to the board of education for its construction projects.

For instance, if the city spends $250,000 in a paving project, the state will reimburse those costs and the city will contribute an additional $250,000 toward the construction project at Andalusia High School.

The measure was approved after a lengthy conversation in which Councilman Terry Powell questioned the agreement.

  • met in closed session with its attorney to discuss pending legal issues.
  • changed its next regular meeting to 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 19.