BOE approves wage adjustments for SHS addition
by Emily Adams
SYLACAUGA – The Board of Education approved a $254,557 change order at its meeting Tuesday night to rectify payment to First Team Construction for the Sylacauga High School addition project.

Because the project is using a $5 million federal Qualified School Construction Bond, contractors must pay employees in accordance with the Davis-Bacon Act. The act provides a specified wage index for on-site construction workers that was not being followed, due in-part to oversight and unfamiliarity with federal construction bonds, CFO Lisa Dickerson told the BOE in November when it was first made aware of the issue.

The change order will correct payment to the workers from the beginning of the project, which started in late 2011. While there is no direct penalty for violating Davis-Bacon wages, the board agreed this was a necessary correction.

The payment will come from a $350,000 contingency fund included in the project’s budget, so no additional money will have to be spent.

The $7.8 million addition project is on track for an April completion. The two-story, 60,000 square-foot wing constitutes Phase I of a three-phase, $20 million project to renovate about 70 percent of the high school in the next five years. The remaining funds for the project were acquired through bonds from the city of Sylacauga.

Also at the meeting, the board heard an update on the school system’s AdvancED accreditation process currently in progress.

Assessment coordinator Carol Martin said the system is at the self-assessment phase of the process, following extensive self-assessment by individual schools last semester. The central office is now compiling information provided by its four schools into a systemwide view of its strengths and weaknesses.

So far they have ranked the system highest in the areas of professional development, shared focus through all grade levels, student support services and student assessment, Martin said. Areas identified for improvement are more staff training for the usage of student data, a formal advisor or advocacy system for students, a stronger mentoring system for new teachers and continued expansion of technology.

A visiting AdvancED accreditation team will be in Sylacauga April 21-24 to conduct interviews and gather information for a final assessment. The team will spend its first day in systemwide meetings, its second day visiting schools and its third day meeting with BOE members. The system should have an impression of how it performed when the AdvancED team leaves; however, formal accreditation, which is valid for five years, will not take place until June, Martin said.

Also, Martin and Sean Stevens discussed a new diploma recently approved by the state. Starting with the class of 2017, there will only be one basic high school diploma offered, with the option to have “honors” or “career-tech” concentrations so that every student is either college or career-ready when they graduate, Stevens said.

The board also heard from soccer booster President Gary Smith and football booster President Bill Hodges. Smith asked for financial support from the BOE to install lights at the recently built soccer field. An estimate from Musco put the job at $120,000-129,000, with some additional costs for engineering. The lighting would allow the boys and girls soccer teams to host night games and tournaments and would also relieve some usage of the football field, Smith said.

In other business, the board:

• Approved the following personnel actions: Employment of Jamie Ledin as a 7.28-hour instructional assistant at Indian Valley Elementary, Holly Carden as a child nutrition assistant at Nichols-Lawson Middle School, and Rebecca Huff, Samantha Huntley-Nwogo, Beth Maxwell, Melissa McLelland, Latorrie Tanner, Iris White and Shunmika Williams as substitute teachers; Leave of absence extension for DeAnna Bailey until May 24; Retirement of Jackie Potts, special education transition coordinator at Sylacauga High School, effective June 30, 2013.

• Approved accounts payable, payroll and financial statements totaling $1,824,107.42 for January.

• Approved new tuition students Brooklyn East, Kayleigh Davis, Misael Ruiz and Isabel Ruiz.

• Tabled a $12,321 change order for access control changes.

• Approved a $16,441 bid from BRESCO for decorative artwork for the Nichols-Lawson cafeteria.

• Approved an out-of-state field trip for APEX students to Stone Mountain Park in Georgia on April 5.

• Approved a $36,500 bid to INSI for a network switch for Pinecrest and Indian Valley schools and a $28,366 bid from the Sylacauga Utilities Board for internet services.

• Was presented a policy regarding graduation/promotion requirements to be recommended for approval at the next meeting.

• Revised the 2013-2014 Calendar Committee to reflect Debbie Barnett as chairman instead of Gerald Douglass.

The next regular BOE meeting is March 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the Central Office.

Contact Emily Adams at

© 2013