BOE asking for state help

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 15, 2007


The arrest of the Selma chief schools financial officer has had a rippling affect felt even more this week as school officials learned checks were bouncing.

Those matters are being addressed. The Selma City Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday evening during a marathon meeting to ask the state for technical assistance with its finances. Interim Superintendent Dr. Verdell Dawson will be contacting Craig Pouncey, assistant superintendent with the State Department of Education, who asked school officials to contact them with what they felt the areas of need were.

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Apparently, state officials already in Selma were sent back to Montgomery after confusion over what their roles in the school board office were, according to board members.

They also heard a presentation from Dr. Zanetta Simmons-Ervin explaining why Selma City Schools, along with Macon County Schools, were the only school districts in the state that did not make Adequate Yearly Progress. A detailed report put together by Ervin, Melvia Holmes, Penny Williams and Mamie Solomon attempted to explain the situation.

(See Sunday’s edition of The Selma Times-Journal for an in-depth look.)

Without providing specifics of how many checks or how much cash was involved, Dawson told board members she had met with representatives of Regions Bank in Selma who assisted in getting the system’s accounts balanced. She said the day FBI agents arrested Tim Parker in his office, there were fund transfers that were to be made, but were never made. The FBI sealed his office and school officials were not allowed inside, she said.

Dawson said the school system was in crisis since they had a new employee in the payroll department, are without a CSFO and the system’s budget was due at the state department by Sept. 17. Board members voted unanimously for Dawson to notify Pouncey of their needs for three persons from the state, who will be asked to assist her, one to function as an interim CSFO, and one to help &8220;cross train&8221; financial staff on payroll and other functions in that office.

John Williams, who recently assumed the role as chairman of the board, said they wanted to identify problems so they can be addressed. Board members James Terry and Dr. Kirit Chapatwala of the finance committee, reported they have been looking over finances and &8220;we’re not broke,&8221; Terry said.

In other business, board members accepted a bid of $104,500 from the Miracle Corporation to install playground equipment for the special education programs at Cedar Park and Clark elementary schools.