School board has first work session of 2019

Published 9:00 pm Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Selma City School Board had their first work session of the year on Wednesday night, and the year kicked off with talks of the upcoming vote on Tuesday, Jan. 15 on whether to close schools or not.

Before the Christmas and New Year break, the board had the first reading of a recommendation from Selma City School Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams to close Cedar Park Elementary School and Byrd First Class Learning Center.

Email newsletter signup

This recommendation comes from a study of the number of students enrolled in the school system declining over the years and the numbers that show that Selma City Schools are not being utilized effectively, according to Williams.

Williams presented options for Pre-K placement should Byrd be voted to close.

Williams said after a community meeting held at the end of last year, that the Pre-K classroom educators were persistent about keeping the Pre-K classrooms together if possible.

Williams said after meeting again with the Pre-K group, she said the options formulated included either have four classes at Meadowview Elementary School and Edgewood; or eight classes at one site located at Clark Elementary School to create the Selma City Schools First Class or have between six and seven classes at one site located at Payne Elementary School and add additional classes as needed.

The next steps after that, according to Williams’ recommendation, would be to establish Academies of Academic Excellence at all elementary schools by fall or 2020; develop an open enrollment policy for elementary schools by fall of 2020 and based on enrollment and academic outcomes, close at least one school annually for two to three years beginning fall of 2021.

“There will be two different recommendations, one for Cedar Park and one for Byrd,” said Williams. “At our community meeting our Pre-K teachers made it very clear that they were interested in staying together. I did walkthroughs of Payne and Clark to assess the feasibility of having Pre-K in one site, and I also did walkthroughs of Meadowview and Edgewood to see if we could increase to four classrooms per site instead of three. Right now, we have enough students for eight classes.

“Payne has space we could definitely do six to seven classrooms,” said Williams. “We will add additional classrooms as needed. When you look at the resolution, we want it to be clear that the goal is to ensure we have the same access to Pre-K that we do now in terms of classrooms, and the number of classrooms we have will be based on the number of registration.”

Another option is to establish a new district wide job position called a Coordinator of Early and Social Emotional Learning.

“This is a job description that we have already worked on, and my intent is to have the first reading for that job description for February,” said Williams.

The board also heard the Operations Update for 2019.

According to the presentation from maintenance numbers, since July 1, 2018, the maintenance department has completed 788 maintenance requests. These repairs ranged from repairing door locks and replacing broken windows to repairing and replacing systems and boilers.

The maintenance department gained two new staff members: a carpenter and HVAC technician.

The transportation department has completed 73 requests for transportation.

The school system has one full-time driver and five part-time drivers, two of which are also maintenance technicians.

The transportation fleet includes two new buses that have been assigned to routes and two refurbished buses have also been added to the fleet as spare buses.

The drivers’ work consists of morning and evening bus routes; midday routes for dual enrollment to Wallace Community College-Selma; midday routes for gifted education; afterschool transportation to the YMCA and as needed handling field trips and transportation for athletic teams.

The transportation department also has one new driver and one retirement set for May of this year.

The Selma City School Board will have their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 5:30 p.m.

The meeting will be at Meadowview Elementary School Cafeteria located at 1816 Old Orrville Road.