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Selma’s new school board goes to work

The first elected Selma City School Board is now in session.

Officially sworn in at the beginning of the meeting on Thursday evening, members got down to business immediately after formally becoming board members.

The new board members are: Henry Hicks, Sr., president; Holland Powell, District 1; Brenda Randolph-Obomanu, District 2; Frank Chestnut, Jr., District 3; Udo Ufomadu, District 4. Mr. Chestnut was also chosen by the board to serve as the vice-president.

All members agreed that this board is dedicated to bettering the schools and will function with transparency.

In accordance with this promise, and Ms. Randolph-Obomanu’s request for Selma City Schools Superintendent Dr. Austin Obasohan to summarize each item before allowing a vote, all business was conducted in front of the public, with no executive session needed.

“We’re going to fight, scratch and work as hard as we can to make the Selma School System the best,” Mr. Hicks said. “I want you to hold me accountable for our children.”

The board voted to become a part of the Teach for America program for three years, beginning in the 2010-2011 school year. The program will bring in college graduates from major universities to teach within the critical need areas in the Selma City Schools system.

Also, in compliance with state regulations, the board approved to decrease mileage rate pay for traveling in privately owned vehicles from 55 cents to 50 cents per mile, and to appoint textbook committees for 2009-2010.

Board members also approved to have the final day of the semester and school year be May 26, due to the missed day from weather on Jan. 8.

Attending training on Jan. 15 and 16, board members and Dr. Austin Obasohan, Selma City Schools superintendent, have prepared a unified front for tackling issues and concerns of the Selma schools.

“If that is an indication of what we have to come, I think it’s going to be a blast,” Dr. Obasohan said.

The board will also be committed to the accountability of the public.

“We are all going to do things in a transparent manner,” Dr. Obasohan said.

The positions on the board are 4-year commitments, but the current board will hold positions for only 2.5 years. This is to align the School Board election with the upcoming City Council election.