BOE approves additional school police officer
by Emily Adams
SYLACAUGA – The Board of Education voted 4-0 to approve a three-year position for a second school resource officer at its meeting Tuesday night. Board member Scott Stewart was absent.

The officer will be staffed by the Sylacauga Police Department with annual costs for salary and benefits to be split between the BOE and the city at $22,500 each. Police Chief Chris Carden said the funds will cover expenses for the department to hire an entry-level officer; however, the SRO will be selected internally from a pool of experienced officers.

“Adding an additional SRO is important, not only to the board, but it’s really important to the parents,” Carden said at the meeting. “To have (current SRO Willie Kidd) at the high school and only having one SRO really limits what we can possibly do.”

With a second SRO on board, Kidd will cover Sylacauga High and Pinecrest Elementary schools and the other will serve Nichols-Lawson Middle and Indian Valley Elementary schools. The SRO is present in schools all day, each school day and handles any incidents that arise on campus.

Carden also asked that the BOE consider a one-time cost of $8,800 to go toward the purchase of a vehicle for the added officer, also to be split with the city. The board thanked Carden and agreed the position is needed.

Carden said the SRO will hopefully be in place by the start of next school year. He also announced a new policy in which an armed officer will be present at every school assembly. These changes come after a recent revision of school safety plans by Carden and Student Services Coordinator Bobby Hall.

Also at the meeting, Board President Jennie McGhee announced the BOE has been assigned contacts with the Alabama Association of School Boards who will be handling the system’s superintendent search. The search will be led by Kendi Benson, a former superintendent in Florence, and Hank Jones, a former Troy superintendent. McGhee said board members will meet with them at the beginning of February to discuss what they are looking for in a candidate.

The board also approved three change orders for the SHS addition project totaling $18,686. One order is for a piping and an additional access hole to a pipe chase for $2,838; the second covered costs for four exterior doors with card readers and keypads for secure entry at $13,165; and the third was for marker board changes from bulletin boards to dry-erase in the addition’s classrooms at $2,683.

In other business, the board:

• Celebrated Board Member Recognition Month with a reception sponsored by the Sylacauga Teachers Association and the National Honor Society. Each board member was presented a book to be dedicated in their name to a school library.

O Approved the employment of: Deetsie Webb as half-time drama teacher at SHS, effective Jan. 14; Ben Andrews, Shannon Arnold, Tiphini Carroll, Kyle Culver, Tabitha Perry, Jon Rodgers, Jasmine Seals, Joy Settles and Lindsey Thompson as substitute teachers, effective immediately; Martha Mooney and Kimberly Nickels as emergency EDP workers, effective retroactive to Dec. 1; Nitha Estelle, Lisa Reaves and Arista Scott as substitutes for Sunset School, effective immediately; Jalanda Adair as SHS student worker, effective immediately; Gary Rivers, Julie Green, Beth Patterson, Pam Roberts, Patricia Smith, Kristy Harmon and Robin Justice as tutors for Success on Saturday at Pinecrest, effective immediately; and Aleah McWhorter as behavioral aide at SHS, effective immediately.

• Approved the resignation of Aleah McWhorter as an instructional assistant at Indian Valley.

• Approved maternity leaves of absence for Paula Bruno from April 1-May 13 and Alicia Walker from April 12-May 25, and an extension of family medical leave of absence and catastrophic sick leave for Lisa Fuller to May 24.

• Approved a continuous improvement plan for SHS.

• Approved accounts payable, payroll and financial statements for November totaling $1,483,971.14 and December totaling $1,392,051.12.

• Approved new tuition students Zachary Hope, Katie Marty and Caleb Rogers.

The next regular board meeting is Feb. 19 at 5:30 at the Central Office.

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© 2013