Graduation date change among Demopolis BOE moves

Demopolis City Schools, starting with Westside Elementary, will begin implementing the program “Leader in Me” to teach 21st century leadership and life skills to students.

The Board of Education approved the program, developed by Franklin Covey of the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” at its meeting Thursday morning.

Title I professional development funds will be used to pay for the initial year of training for every adult at WES. The cost is $41,343 for the first year and $16,500 for years two and three, said Supt. Kyle Kallhoff.

The program will extend to U.S. Jones Elementary the second year and eventually to Demopolis Middle School, he said.

The idea behind “Leader in Me” is that every child can be a leader. As the student develops, he also acquires responsibility, problem solving, teamwork and creativity, among other traits.

The board also approved Anderson Plumbing and Heating to do emergency repairs and maintenance work on the HVAC system recently installed in the high school.

No cost of the work could be set since the extent of the repairs and what is required for the job is not known.

After the meeting, Kallhoff said that while the new system works, “At the end of the day it’s got to work properly.”

He said some of the companies involved in the installation have gone out of business, and litigation is expected for the school system to receive reimbursement for whatever costs are incurred.

The board voted to move the date of graduation from May 25 to May 18, 2018. Kallhoff said it was being done for two reasons: to move the ceremony out of the last week of school and to keep it from being over the Memorial Day weekend.

Sharing enrollment projections for the next year, Kallhoff told board members that several Sumter County parents have called to ask about transferring their children to Demopolis schools.

He said there is room to accept more children and invited Sumter parents to meet with principals and visit the schools.

Ricky Montz, whose daughter plays softball for the high school, had at first approached the board about the locks being changed on the softball field. When he understood that the school system is liable for any injury incurred if there is no board employee on site, he said he understood.

Kallhoff said only three people have keys to the field now. He told the board it will have to take up the matter of limiting access to other school athletic facilities because of liability, especially since the system is getting ready to invest another $5,000 for upgrades to the track.

In other action, the board approved:

  • The purchase of a 2013 72-passenger school bus for $60,000.
  • Disposition of items no longer usable.
  • Travel for Kallhoff to attend several conferences and training sessions in June and July.
  • Out-of-state travel for the USJ 21st Century Camp in Meridian, Miss.

The following personnel hires were approved:

  • Darius Waters, WES custodian
  • Eric Hendricks, PE teacher at WES
  • Sierra Allen-Galusha, special education teacher at WES
  • Kamie Johnson, First Class Pre-K Grant Lead Teacher at WES
  • Claire Bell, First Class Pre-K Grant Auxiliary Teacher at WES.

Also approved were two transfers: Brian Allen, English teacher, and Robert Wilkerson, Social Studies teacher, both from DHS to DMS.

Kallhoff called a special meeting for June 29 at 9 a.m. for action on new basketball and softball coaches for the high school. The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be July 17 at 5:15 p.m.