Barber to school administrators: Our sucess depends on you.
by David Atchison
Pell City school administrators gathered Tuesday for the annual administrators retreat to iron out details for the start of the 2013-2014 school year.

"We are here to support you, and I hope you feel that way," Superintendent Michael Barber told principals and school administrators at the retreat held at Eden Westside Baptist Church.

He said central office personnel would assist school administrators in any way possible.

"Ultimately, we're here to support y'all," he said. "The success of the school system is based on the success of the schools. That's how the school system is going to be evaluated, how the community looks at the school system."

About 25 people attended Tuesday's retreat, where educators discussed all facets of the upcoming school year.

Administrators discussed buildings, buses and a variety of school business, including special programs, teacher certification, technology and even the implementation of the new healthcare law.

Tanya Holcombe, the chief financial officer for the school system, said the hours worked by part-time employees or substitute teachers must be limited to 30 hours a week, or the school system is obligated to provide health insurance for them under the new healthcare law.

"We are going to have to limit their hours," she said, although federal authorities have delayed the implementation of the new healthcare reform law until January 2015.

Barber said he hopes problems in the law that can affect school systems are worked out before the actual implementation of the new law.

Barber told school administrators not to hesitate to call central office personnel if they have a question or need help.

"When in doubt, call," Barber told school administrators. "We want to be accommodating."

School officials said Tuesday that at the present time the school system is not accepting students from failing schools in other school districts. Officials said they have had some requests.

Barber said he hopes Tuesday's retreat helps build a connection between all administrators, and he hopes it will open the door to sharing information with one another.

"I hope this helps set a tone of collaboration, communication and high expectations," he said. "We want our principals and administrators to be successful."

Contact David Atchison at
© 2013