Demopolis BOE readies for new academic year in Monday meeting

Back-to-school preparations took up much of the Demopolis City Board of Education meeting Monday.

Board members voted on personnel changes, bids for services and other actions to get ready for the school year that starts in less than a month.

One of the actions taken was to approve an on-site counselor from West Alabama Mental Health to be at Demopolis Middle School to serve WAMH clients. The board pays nothing for the counselor but will provide an office, internet connection and phone in the library.

In addition to working with the WAMH clients, the counselor will also serve as a resource to the school counselor, said Kyle Kallhoff, superintendent. If the program works well this first year, it may be expanded to U.S. Jones or Westside Elementary Schools in 2018-2019.

Parents who want to pay on line for their child’s school lunch now use PayPams. The board voted to expand the service to allow parents to pay school fees on line as well.

However, the original motion was modified to make sure PayPams lowers its service fee as the school year progresses and the amount declines.

The Child Nutrition Program (CNP) bids approved included Four Seasons Produce, $23,783.11; Borden Dairy, $83,769.01, and Ice Cream Warehouse, $11,170.

In other action the board approved:

  • An agreement with Shelton State Community College for the dual enrollment HVAC class.
  • Extra-curricula supplements.
  • Inventory disposition of four items, including a 1998 bus that will be offered for sale.

In consent items, the board voted for:

  • A memorandum of understanding to implement in the new pre-K program
  • A contract with Fleming Photography to take Demopolis High School pictures, including senior portraits, class photos and sports.
  • Re-advertising the Central Office secretary position and expand it to 10 months with a commiserate salary.
  • Advertising for a DMS English teacher.
  • Rotary Club dues for the superintendent.

The personnel report included the following:

  • Employment: Mary Ellen McCrory, CNP worker at WES; Nicole Jensen, Social Studies teacher at DMS; Tracey Stewart, 10-month assistant principal, split between WES and USJ; Jamie Webb, USJ teacher, and William Jackson, 12-month custodian at WES.
  • Resignations: Pam Morrison, Central Office secretary, and Allison Cobb, English/Language Arts teacher at DMS.
  • Transfers: Shawn Nikki Cobb, Special Education paraprofessional from USJ to DMS, and Ricky Richardson, Special Education paraprofessional from USJ to WES
  • Substitutes: Elaine Carter and Katie Poole
  • Miscellaneous: Brandi Dannelly, DHS girls P.E. teacher to a 10-month employee, and Norvie Womack, Career Prep teacher at DMS, to a 10-month employee.

Kallhoff gave the board a brief overview of the ACT, ACT Aspire and AP exam results for 2017, which will be shared with personnel at the Teacher’s Institute.

The board will hold a called meeting at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2, to make final personnel changes. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the board will be Monday, Aug. 21, at 5:15 p.m.

Credit union branch proposed at Demopolis High; retirees honored in Monday meeting

Four of seven retirees were present at Monday’s BOE meeting, including, from left, Katie Poole, Paula Bond, Lori Giles, and Tammy Spruell. (WAW | Jan McDonald)

Opening a branch of Naheola Credit Union at Demopolis High School and having students earn credit for operating it was proposed to the Demopolis City Board of Education at a called meeting Monday.

Under the proposal, the pilot program would start in the fall and be part of the Finance Academy, under the direction of Kelly Gandy. Students would earn a credit hour for taking it, explained Ashley Coplin, marketing director for the credit union.

“It lines up perfect with the state standards,” added Gandy.

Up to four seniors would be operating the credit union branch two days a week from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., if the proposal is accepted. Students would be interviewed by credit union personnel before being hired.

Gandy said that while it would benefit her students, she is pleased with the impact it will have on the rest of the student body by helping them understand finances.

The credit union would be part of a classroom course open to all students at the high school, Gandy continued.

Coplin reviewed the duties and responsibilities of both the students and Naheola Credit Union. She stressed that the credit union would absorb all costs for setting up and operating the facility as well as safety features. All DHS would need to provide is the space.

To that Gandy added that principal Blaine Hathcock already has designated an area that can be used.

Board members and Supt. Kyle Kallhoff asked several questions about how the course would be conducted. No action was taken.

The board honored seven retirees who have contributed 168.5 combined years in the Demopolis school system.

Retirees attending the meeting were Lori Giles, 29 years; Paula Bond, 11; Tammy Spruell, 30, and Katie Poole, 11. Not in attendance were Julie Lee, 28.5 years; Cynthia Whitlock, 25, and Poncho Robinson, 30.

In other personnel matters, the board approved the following:

  • Conditional employment: Robert Wilkerson, DHS history; Matthew Mellown, DHS special education; Lindsey Thorne, Crystal Freeman and Nicholas Seymore, Westside Elementary; Clint Humphrey, DHS paraprofessional, and Kristina Kallhoff, U.S. Jones Elementary.
  • Resignation: Elaine Calvin, USJ; Brittany Dunson, DHS physical education; Ashley Allen, Demopolis Middle School business and marketing; Lincoln Luker, WES physical education, and Andrew Luker, DHS history teacher.
  • Tamyla James was granted a substitute teacher license.
  • William Jackson, WES lunchroom worker, will be employed as a temporary custodian throughout the summer.

In the only other action, the board approved a contract with Michael Randall to provide ground maintenance to all campuses.

The board next will meet on Thursday, June 1, from 2-4 p.m. for a work session.

End of year actions occupy Monday BOE meeting

End-of-year actions took up most of the Demopolis City Board of Education meeting Monday, including personnel matters and summer construction work.

Charles Jones Construction received the bid for concrete and awning work at Demopolis Middle and U.S. Jones Elementary schools for a total of $57,694.39. This is the second phase of capital improvements started last year.

The work at DMS will include installing a sidewalk and awning from the east side of the building to Cherry Street for $30,308.49, and repairing a sidewalk and installing an awning on the west side of USJ parallel with South Front Avenue, for a cost of $27,385.90.

Also approved was a contract with Interquest Detection Canines for drug searches at DMS and Demopolis High at $600 per visit. Supt. Kyle Kallhoff said four searches are planned for the next school year.

The board accepted the state audit of the school system’s finances for Oct. 1, 2014 through Sept. 30, 2015, given by Cindy Wilson with the Department of Public Accounts.

The board eliminated two positions in the school system: the physical education paraprofessional at DHS and the gifted paraprofessional.

The board accepted the personnel report, which included:

  • Conditional Employment: Adam Brown as DMS band director and assistant director at DHS; Lisa Lindy as Media Specialist at DHS, and Pam Morrison as Central Office secretary.
  • Resignations: Jessica Dial, Central Office secretary; Logan Colvin, DHS history teacher; Herbert Rice, DMS history teacher, and Carly Mosley, DMS English teacher.
  • Transfers: Charlotte Anne Johnson, from Special Education teacher at DHS to USJ; Amanda Smith, from math teacher at DHS to DMS; Emily Low, PE paraprofessional at DHS to WES; Carrie Goodman, DMS math teacher to DHS, and Meggin Mayben, DMS history/broadcasting teacher to history teacher at DHS.
  • Andrea Johnson, WES first grade teacher, is being reassigned to Library/Media Specialist at WES.

In other action, the board approved:

  • Disposal of used equipment that cannot be repaired
  • Bidding on a used school bus
  • Out-of-state field trip for qualified DHS students to attend the national FBLA convention in Anaheim, Calif., June 27-July 3.

The board will have a called meeting Monday, May 22, at 4 p.m. and its mandatory Whole Board Training is scheduled for June 1 from 2-4 p.m.

Demopolis BOE adjusts facility rental fees, makes personnel changes in Tuesday meeting

Rental fees for the use of school gymnasiums and auditoriums are going up after the Demopolis City Board of Education voted Monday in a meeting that covered routine items.

The rental for gymnasiums rose from $150 to $250, and for auditoriums, from $250 to $500, effective immediately. The action came after questions about the fees were raised at meetings earlier this year.

The board also agreed with Supt. Kyle Kallhoff to make a general advertisement for elementary, middle and high school teachers in order to have a pool of applications to draw from. In addition, advertisements for library media specialists at Westside Elementary and Demopolis High School and for a DHS custodian are being posted.

The board voted on the personnel report which included:

  • Resignations by Jonathan Casey Moore, special education teacher at Demopolis Middle School, effective March 16, and Jillian Arthur, band director, effective at the end of the school year.
  • Retirements of Lori Giles, WES librarian; Katie Poole, U.S. Jones Elementary teacher, and Tammy Spruell, and Paul Bond, both WES teachers, all effective at the end of the school year.
  • Substitute license for Linda Driver.
  • Medical leave extension for Constance Cleveland.

Kallhoff asked the board to make a revision to the school calendar approved last month. Teachers will have a work day on Aug. 7, with three professional development days to follow. The previous calendar had the work day on Aug. 8 with two professional development days.

Teachers and students from WES and DMS were recognized for their outstanding accomplishments. From WES, office manager Joann Merriweather and second grader Areil Mata were honored. From DMS were 8th grade math teacher Jackie Tripp and 7th grader Ny Kierah Johnson.

Kallhoff said he is working on an application for all school volunteers. Still in the development stage is how to conduct background checks on those volunteers. Local background can be determined, but state and federal background checks may have to be outsourced.

In other action the board approved:

  • Out-of-state or overnight field trips for the DMS Beta Club to Orlando, Fla.; DHS DECA to Anaheim, Calif.; DHS Youth Leadership to Tuscaloosa, and DHS FBLA to Birmingham.
  • Travel reimbursement for the art teacher.
  • Inventory dispositions for unusable computers and printers.
  • DHS auditorium rental by the John Coley Show June 4.
  • 2017-2018 Course Catalogue.
  • Floor machine maintenance agreement for DMS.

Kallhoff asked the board to consider a janitorial bid for WES. He said summer work hours will extend from June 5 to July 28. Schools and offices will be open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Fridays from 7-11 a.m.

In his report, Kallhoff congratulated board president Conrad Murdock for being reelected to the board by the Demopolis City Council.

He said the Area Special Olympic Games will be held at DHS on April 21, and April is being designated as Autism Awareness Month in the schools.

A job fair will be held at DHS on Thursday by local industries. Juniors and seniors will be interviewing during the day, and after school hours the general public is invited to take part in the job fair.

The next regular meeting will be held April 17. Kallhoff said he expected to have a recommendation for a band director at that time, and he hoped to have a DHS principal applicant as well.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Demopolis BOE appointing committee to investigate tuition for non-residents

The option of charging tuition for students living outside the Demopolis City Schools territory will be investigated by a committee being formed by Supt. Kyle Kallhoff.

The superintendent announced his decision at the Board of Education meeting Monday.

“I would like to begin exploring the possibility of charging a reasonable tuition for non-resident students,” he told the board. “This is for students who wish to attend our schools but do not live in the city of Demopolis.”

The committee would look into what other public school systems charge and the cost of private schools in the area and determine a fair amount for out-of-area students.

“We offer several services for which we do not receive adequate funding,” he continued. One of those services is school nurses. The system barely has enough funding for three nurses at the four campuses, he explained. “Of their daily medical attention to students, 62 are not residents of Demopolis.”

While Kallhoff said the school system doesn’t want to neglect any students, “We want to make sure we are fiscally responsible for the resources we have.”

He is looking to have the committee in place by next week and said that he would like a member of the board to serve on it.

The board unanimously approved a revision to Policy 5.10.1, adding foster care children to the school system admission policy for homeless, migratory, immigrant and limited English proficiency students.

The board also approved the following changes to system personnel:

  • Hiring of Kacey Barrett as a Special Education teacher upon completion of her bachelor’s degree in May.
  • Hiring of Claire Bell as Special Education para-professional effect Feb. 21.
  • Retirement of Cynthia Whitlock, DHS librarian, effective June 1.
  • Approval of Amaal Bamani and James Davis as substitutes.
  • Katrina Sprinkle to be the long-term substitute for Janie Basinger who is on medical leave until May 1.
  • Brian Bradley to be assistant baseball coach at Demopolis Middle School.
  • Donna Dodson to be long-term substitute for Addy Card who I on medical leave until March 24.

The board okayed out-of-state and/or overnight field trips for:

  • S. Jones and DMS Math Teams to Tupelo, Miss., March 4
  • Demopolis High FBLA to Birmingham April 6-7.
  • DHS Beta Club to Six Flags over Georgia April 21.

Kallhoff said the second annual Young Authors Symposium will be held Tuesday, April 18, at 6 p.m. at DHS.

The board voted to accept the school schedule for the 2017-2018 year, which will have 176 days. Classes begin Aug. 14 and end May 24, 2018.

Kallhoff continued to honor outstanding students and staff at Demopolis schools. Student Jakobe Morris and teacher Gloria Mims from USJ and SGA president Roderick Anderson and teacher Amie Miller of DHS each received recognition and gift certificates.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Demopolis BOE members recognized in meeting; community meeting set to discuss USJ future use

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Instead of the monthly appreciation of outstanding teachers and students from Demopolis schools, Supt. Kyle Kallhoff recognized board members at the January meeting as part of School Board Appreciation Month.

Kallhoff thanked the board members on behalf of the 2,300 students and 230 employees in the system. Each of the four schools honored a board member, and the Central Office recognized the fifth. Members were given gift baskets or gift certificates for their service.

Westside Elementary School honored Floy Mayberry; U.S. Jones Elementary, Carolyn Moore; Demopolis Middle School, board Chairman Conrad Murdock; Demopolis High, Olen Kerby, and the Central Office, Jim Stanford, who has served as a board member for 13 years.

The board approved the first reading of a revision to Policy 5.10.1. It adds foster care children to the school system admission policy for homeless, migratory, immigrant and limited English proficiency students. Kallhoff said a hearing will be set for public input before the second reading and vote.

He also said an open meeting is planned for Saturday, Feb. 11 at 11 a.m. in the USJ gymnasium to discuss the future use of the school. The meeting is in response to concerns by Marengo County Commission Freddie Armstead and others.

The board approved supplemental salaries for extra-curricular activities at the schools for the 2017-2018 term. The supplements include coaches and assistant coaches, band director and team and club sponsors as well as other designated employees.

Approved for out-of-state or overnight field trips were:

  • DHS HOSA, Feb. 23-24, to Montgomery.
  • DHS Student Council, April 9-10, Tuscaloosa.
  • USJ Fifth Grade Honor Club, April 22-26, Washington, D.C.
  • DHS track team, April 28-29, Mobile.
  • DHS track team, May 5-6, Gulf Shores.

In personnel matters, the board approved conditional employment of Mary Fields, Child Nutrition Program worker at WES, and Katrina Sprinkle as a substitute.

The Jack-Corene Community Development Corp. was approved to use DHS facilities on May 13.

In his comments, Kallhoff said further research is being done on fees for the use of the DHS auditorium and gymnasium after the issue was brought up at the last meeting.

He invited board members to visit the HVAC program being taught by Shelton State Community College in the former New Era building. Eleven students are enrolled.

He also said Alison Brantley with UWA workforce development will speak to DHS students on the ACT Work Keys tests they will take in February and the importance of the exams.

He complemented 28 employees who had perfect attendance during the first semester.

The board will hold a called meeting on Thursday, Feb. 2, at 4 p.m.

Demopolis BOE to meet Tuesday

The Demopolis City Schools Board of Education will meet Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 8:30 a.m. at the Central Office for personnel considerations.

Board makes personnel changes in Monday meeting

Personnel matters took up most of the time of a called meeting of the Demopolis City Board of Education Monday, including adjusting the salaries of those who have taken over interim positions at Demopolis High and Demopolis Middle schools.

In addition Supt. Kyle Kallhoff asked board members to meet on Feb. 2 to consider his recommendation for the DHS football coach.

At the end of the meeting Kallhoff said the school board had received more than 50 applications for the coaching position. After vetting and interviews, the top candidates’ resumes are being reviewed by parents and stakeholders.

Salaries were adjusted to reflect the administrative positions assumed Jan. 2 by three employees. They will receive the salary designated for their interim positions cut in half since they will be serving half the school year.

Blaine Hathcock, the interim DHS principal, will receive a supplement of $4,862; Rollie McCall, interim DMS principal, $2,846.50, and Tracey Stewart, interim assistant principal for DMS, $3,657.50.

Approved for conditional employment were:

  • Judith Moore, Westside Elementary Special Education teacher, filling a vacancy.
  • Andrea Turberville, U.S. Jones Elementary, filling the vacancy left by Stewart.
  • Hannah Shirley, DHS science teacher, extended through the second semester.
  • Jessica Henson, WES lunchroom worker, filling a vacancy.

Substitute teacher approved were Moore, Donna Dodson and Donna Hoven.

Other personnel action included:

  • Updating the expected return date of Barbara Wallace to April 24, per medical certification.
  • Hiring Dodson as long-term substitute for maternity leave Pre-K at WES..
  • Ciera James, WES lunchroom worker, employment termination.

The board also approved advertising for a DHS Band Director for the 2017-2018 school year and for a cafeteria worker position.

In the only other action taken Monday, the board approved the rental of the DHS gymnasium Jan. 13 and 14 by Ross Martial Arts and Fitness Academy.

Board member Jim Stanford voted for the rental but questioned the $150 rental fee as being too low. He said the board needs to address the rental fees for all venues on school property.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the board will be Monday, Jan. 23, since the usual date falls on Martin Luther King Day.

BOE approves diploma endorsements, sets meeting to fill principal role in short meeting Monday

Several teachers were recognized by the board during Monday's meeting. (WAW | Jan McDonald)

Several teachers were recognized by the board during Monday’s meeting. (WAW | Jan McDonald)

In a 15-minute meeting Monday, the Demopolis City Schools Board of Education approved the revised high school diploma endorsements introduced at the November meeting.

The endorsements will go into effect next fall for entering freshmen.

The proposal will provide for four endorsements for students who wish to complete more than the minimum requirements for an Alabama High School Diploma. They are Advanced Placement, Advanced, Advanced Career Tech and Career Tech.

The board recognized a Teacher of the Year from each campus. After further criteria are examined, an elementary and an upper grades teacher will be selected to represent Demopolis schools in Montgomery.

Honored were Gabrielle McVay, Westside Elementary kindergarten teacher; Patricia Bolden, 5th grade teacher from U.S. Jones Elementary; Susan Browder, Demopolis Middle 6th grade math teacher, and Jay Russell, English and creative writing teacher at Demopolis High.

In personnel action the board approved:

  • The resignation of Chris Tangle as principal of DHS effective Dec. 31.
  • Termination of Stacy Jones, WES lunchroom worker
  • Conditional employment of Kaley McManus, special education teacher at USJ
  • Michael Anthony McClain, substitute license.
  • Maternity leave for Addy Card Feb. 20-April 3, 2017.
  • Leave of absence and doctor update requested from Constance Cleveland will be unable to return to work.
  • Update from Barbara Wallace’s doctor on her possible return date.

The board approved overnight field trips for the DHS boys basketball team Dec. 20-22 to Birmingham, the DHS girls basketball team Dec. 27-29 to Birmingham, and the DHS HOSA Feb. 23-24 to Montgomery, the DHS boys basketball team.

Supt. Kyle Kallhoff set a called meeting of the board for 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 12, to consider the interim principal for DHS.

Two groups address Demopolis BOE in Monday meeting

Dr. Milton Young addresses the Demopolis City Schools BOE in Monday's meeting. (WAW | Jan McDonald)

Dr. Milton Young addresses the Demopolis City Schools BOE in Monday’s meeting. (WAW | Jan McDonald)

In a standing-room-only meeting of the Demopolis City Schools Board of Education Monday, two contingents of citizens and parents brought concerns to board members.

Heather Wilson spoke for parents of boys on the Demopolis Middle School basketball team asking the board reconsider reinstating Jesse Bell as the team coach.

Bell had been charged with several crimes, but all charges were dismissed in August. He remains a teacher at DMS, but he was suspended as a coach.

Heather Wilson addresses the Demopolis BOE in Monday's meeting. (WAW | Jan McDonald)

Heather Wilson addresses the Demopolis BOE in Monday’s meeting. (WAW | Jan McDonald)

The second group represented graduates of the formerly all-black U.S. Jones High School. Dr. Milton Young, speaking for the former students, said they were attending the meeting to “get understanding and clarification” of the proposal to convert USJ to a tech-prep center. The group was concerned the name of the school would be changed and that it would be boarded up.

Supt. Kyle Kallhoff assured them that he would never consider changing the name of the school, a stand seconded by board member Carolyn Moore, herself a graduate of the school.

Kallhoff will work with the group to set up a date for a community meeting in January to answer all questions and concerns.

The board approved a contract to hire Andy Turberville as an adjunct instructor. She will begin the groundwork for the Education and Training Career Tech program to start in the fall of 2017.

This is the latest in new career tech offerings, with a heating and air conditioning curriculum in conjunction with Shelton State Community College opening in January and one in forestry planned to begin at the start of the next school year.

Kallhoff thanked local benefactors for $10,000 in donations and more than $20,000 in equipment given for the HVAC program.

The board approved the first reading of the High School Diploma Requirements and Endorsements that will go into effect next year for entering freshmen.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held Wednesday, Dec. 1, at 4:30 p.m. Kallhoff said teachers already have had an input. Now it is time to hear from parents and students.

The proposal will provide for four endorsements for students who wish to complete more than the minimum requirements for an Alabama High School Diploma. They are Advanced Placement, Advanced, Advanced Career Tech and Career Tech.

In other action the board approved:

  • Substitute licensed for Louise Warren, Norma Ethridge, Edna Richardson, Ronnie Abrams, Leroy L. Harris and Rodney Rowser.
  • Retirement of Julie Lee, Special Education teacher at Westside Elementary, effective Dec. 31.
  • Meagan Gurley as head Tennis Coach with a supplement
  • Paula Price, CNP worker, a leave of absence.
  • Maternity leave for Janie Basinger beginning Feb. 24, 2017.
  • Travel for Kallhoff to the Alabama Association of School Boards meeting in Birmingham Dec. 8-10.
  • Overnight field trip to Birmingham for the DMS BETA Club Feb. 22-24, 2017.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In keeping with the tradition Kallhoff started last year, the board recognized students and teachers of the month from two schools. From WES were first grader JeKiyah Ball and second grade teacher Dee Roark. LA’Cher Gray, a 6th grader, and receptionist Freddie James were honored from DMS.

The next board meeting will be Monday, Dec. 12.