Alex City BOE

Students from Alexander City Middle School give artwork to members of the Alexander City Board of Education Tuesday as it held its monthly meeting at the school. The board members also heard a short performance from the school’s advanced band.

Alexander City Schools is another step closer to seeing a new Benjamin Russell building.

Superintendent Dr. Keith Lankford said at Tuesday’s board of education meeting matters concerning the financing will be taken up soon.

“We are going to need to have a special-called meeting in December to discuss bonds and capital projects,” Lankford said. “We will also talk about the 2020-21 school calendar.”

Lankford said David Langham with FCStone will be at the meeting to go over necessary information that will be needed before bonds can be sold. That information includes additional resolutions the Alexander City City Council and Tallapoosa County Commission will need to pass, credit ratings and Form I.

“It is a form we have to fill out to get approved by the Alabama State Department of Education,” Lankford said.

In preparation for a new school Lankford said he and board member Kevin Speaks traveled to Athens High School to see a recently constructed high school. Lankford said they were impressed with the school’s safety, security, classrooms and athletic facilities.

Tuesday’s meeting was held at Alexander City Middle School where it heard the school’s advanced band perform before the meeting and students presented each board member with artwork created by the students. Board chair Denise Bates said she appreciated the gesture.

“Everyone knows I love art,” she said. “I will proudly display this.”

Lankford updated the board on the audio-video enhancement project at Radney Elementary School.

“It is fully installed,” Lankford said. “It has a couple of kinks to work out.”

Lankford told the board to be looking for a three year instructional plan for K-12. He said the state doesn’t require the lower grades but he wants to include them. It will include the Alabama Reading Initiative; Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative; and SRED. The plan will supplement what City school teachers and staff are already doing.

“I want to commend our staff for doing good things,” Lankford said.

The board should have community input surveys being completed for the multi-year strategic plan by Thanksgiving.

“We will be going to everything – basketball games, school, meetings,” Lankford said.

Chief schools financial officer Rhonda Blythe said the school system is in good shape for this early in the fiscal year.

“It is typical of a new (fiscal) year,” Blythe said. “Expenditures exceeded revenues. Our big tax months don’t start coming until December. ”

Blythe said this typical of the first month and will work itself out over the next couple months as tax collections come in. She said the system currently has $8.22 million in operating reserve meaning the system could cover its operating expenses for 3.6 months. Last year at this time the system had 2.69 months of operating expenses in reserve.

The board approved a raise for substitute nurses after it was requested by Lankford. 

“We are having difficulty bringing in a substitute nurse when the hospital is paying more,” Lankford said. “We looked at what Russell Medical is paying (nurses) when they work during their off hours. This is very competitive with that.”

In other action, the Alexander City Board of Education:

• Approved minutes from the Oct. 29 and Nov. 5 meetings

• Approved an overnight field trip for the drama department

• Approved a contract with Power School to help with human resources and payroll software

• Held a first reading of a social media policy

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.