Personnel changes abound during Demopolis BOE meeting

DCS BOE Chair Conrad Murdoch, Demopolis High Student of the Month Mark Joseph Johnson and Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff

DCS BOE Chair Conrad Murdoch, Demopolis High Student of the Month Mark Joseph Johnson and Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff

In a surprising shift of personnel, the Demopolis City Schools Board of Education Monday accepted the resignation Stacy Luker, Demopolis High football coach, teacher and athletic director.

But the board immediately rehired Luker as head football coach. He also will teach two classes and oversee football operations at a salary of $30,000.

While Luker isn’t to work more than 25 hours a week, he “shall work as long as necessary, which both parties realize shall be significantly ‘after hours’” during football season and spring training.

The board voted to transfer Tony Pittman, principal at Westside Elementary, to the high school as assistant principal and athletic director beginning July 1.

The actions were only part of a long list of personnel changes in the school system during a lengthy meeting.

The board also approved a multi-year plan to replace all the Smart Boards in the city’s classrooms with Promethean ActivPanels. The Interactive Board Technology Transition Plan will begin at U.S. Jones Elementary this summer and continue annually until all the schools have received the interactive televisions.

Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff said maintenance on the projectors and bulb replacements in the current system cost $40,000 this year. Because of the new system has no projectors or bulbs, it will be a savings to the DCS budget.

In other action the board approved a policy for a virtual school that was introduced at its March meeting. As part of the procedure, Kallhoff conducted a public hearing on the policy April 4.

The need for a policy was triggered with legislation passed in 2015 requiring every system in the state to have a virtual education option in place by the 2016-2017 school year. The legislation, however, leaves a lot of flexibility within which each school system can work.

The board also approved:

  • Renewal of a contract with Inline Solutions for the network linking all the campuses and Central Office. The total contract is $64,560, of which DCS will pay $12,800, which is $1,000 less than last year.
  • A new hot food counter at DHS for $16,300 from Dixie Store Fixtures.
  • A Memorandum of Agreement among the county’s three school systems and the Department of Human Resources.
  • A contract with Micah Robbins of Tuscaloosa to oversee the completion of the geothermal heating and cooling project at DHS. The contract runs from May 1 through Nov. 30 and is not to exceed $12,950.
  • Robertson Banking Company to finance the $45,000 for a school bus for special needs students.
  • The disposition of surplus inventory.

In his remarks to the board, Kallhoff praised the students in several clubs who took top honors in state competitions and have qualified for national competitions or have been selected for special programs based on their academic achievements.

He also said a one-day Special Olympics is planned for May 12 at DHS for qualifying students throughout the county.

While he didn’t call for any action, Kallhoff told the board that asphalt projects are needed on the grounds of at least three schools. He said the system cannot afford to them all of them at once but should consider using capital funds not already designated for other projects.

“I want to keep this at the forefront,” he told the board.

April is Autism Awareness Month, he told the board. All schools are planning activities to focus on the disability, and several fundraisers are being held to benefit both the self-contained classrooms that work with autistic students in Demopolis and the Autism Society of Alabama.

The goal is to raise $4,000. Blue wristbands are being sold at $2 each, said Kallhoff, showing off his own wristband.

He said one in 50 school children are diagnosed with autism. Demopolis schools have 20 such students enrolled, although not all need to be in self-contained classroom.

The board accepted the following personnel changes:

  • Hiring Brandy Daniels, lead nurse, effective July 26; Julie Harrison, gifted specialist, effective Aug. 9, and Dana Freeman, instructional specialist, effective July 12.
  • Retirements of Jeannette Rainey, third grade teacher; Vicky Thorne, third grade teacher, and Dr. Tony Speegle, July 1.
  • Transfer of Penny Stanford from USJ technology teacher to the same position at Westside Elementary.
  • Transfer of Traci Pearson from 9.5-month guidance counselor at DMS to 12-month counselor at DHS.
  • Transfer of William Barley from 10-month counselor at DHS to 10-month counselor split 60/40 between DHS and DMS respectively.
  • Transfer of Laura Holley from 9.5-month counselor at USJ to 10-month counselor at DMS.
  • Transfer of Leslie May from 10.5-month counselor at DHS to 10-month counselor at WES.
  • Transfer of Valtina Bowden from 9.5-month counselor at WES to 10-month counselor at USJ.
  • Family Medical Leave Request for Beth Fleming beginning March 18 with expected return of April 18.
  • Resignation of Martell Jones, special education paraprofessional at DHS.
  • Transfer of Christine Anderson, technology paraprofessional, from WES to USJ.

In keeping with the practice Kallhoff started in the fall, students and teachers from two campuses were recognized at the board meeting.

From USJ was student Jacob Saelens and teachers Vicky Thorne and Jeannette Rainey, both of whom are retiring.

Senior Mark Joseph Johnson and maintenance worker Carl Bolden Jr. of DHS also were honored.

Certificates and gift cards for each recipient were made possible by donations from Robertson Banking Company and Batter Up.

Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff, Demopolis High Employee of the Month Carl Bolden Jr. and DCS BOE member Jim Stanford.

Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff, Demopolis High Employee of the Month Carl Bolden Jr. and DCS BOE member Jim Stanford.

U.S. Jones Elementary teachers Jeanette Rainey and Vicky Thorn, Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff and DCS Board Member Olen Kerby.

U.S. Jones Elementary teachers Jeanette Rainey and Vicky Thorn, Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff and DCS Board Member Olen Kerby.