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City holds forum to discuss new school

BY BRUCE BRANUM

The Greenville Standard

 

The City of Greenville held a public forum to discuss the possible formation of a city school system on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at the LBW Conference Center in Greenville.

A public notice by the city stated, “Attorney’s with the law firm Adams and Reese LLP will be on hand to present findings of the city’s potential separation from the Butler County School System and answer questions following the presentation.”

At the forum, a panel of three representatives of the firm of Adams and Reese LLP gave a 45 minute presentation on the steps for starting a new school system.

Representing Adams and Reese were Nash Campbell (Special Counsel), Dr. Suzanne Freeman (retired school superintendent), and Jean McCutcheon (retired chief school finance officer).

During the presentation, all three members of the panel spoke on the various steps that would normally be taken to create a city school and various scenarios in which they had experience.

Those steps included determining what schools are within city limits; debt service of each school; and enrollment of each school city residents and non-city residents).

The panel stated that revenue sources would by analyzed including tax data from Butler County, Alabama State Department of Education, and tax record.

They would use that date to calculate state allocation base on future daily membership and to calculate potential federal revenue.

The next step to be taken, according to the panel, was to take applications, interview, and appoint school board members who would then select a president and vice-president.

Appointments would occur by vote of Greenville City Council.

After that the city school board could begin negotiations with the county school system.

Those items of negation would normally include student attendance, conveyance of school facilities and/or other properties, transportation equipment, personnel, local taxes and revenues, debt, and other items.

From there, the new school system would need to conduct a facility and technology assessment, which would determine the design technology infrastructure for the system, such as servers, networks, hardware and software.

The next step for the city school board would be to employee a superintendent, determine district staffing needs, and review academic assessment, which would include english/math/science proficiency, graduation rate, and college and career readiness.

The board would then determine location for the board office and the superintendent would recruit, interview and recommend central office staff to the board for approval.

Principals would recruit, interview and recommend teachers and staff to the superintendent in turn would recommend to the board for approval.

After the panel’s presentation, audience members were allowed to ask questions of the panel.

A prominent question by the audience about students was ‘grandfathering.’ Grandfathering relates to students being able to attend the school system they were previously enrolled.

The panel noted it would be up to the city school board to determine grandfathering specifics.

Other audience members stated they felt that more information was to be presented at the forum, while others asked about if teaching and staff positions would be maintained.

The panel noted it would be up to the different school system boards, but in their experience, most teachers or staff would be retained in some fashion.

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