Athletics top Dallas County School Board meeting

Published 6:35 am Saturday, April 29, 2023

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By Travis Gupton

The Selma Times-Journal

It was a full Commissioners Chamber on Thursday night for the April Dallas County School Board Meeting to discuss several things surrounding the school district.

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One of the first things on the agenda was several presentations. The first presentation was the Fiscal Year 2021 Audit Report. There were several places where the board did not comply with the state regulations in the audit. Several questions on some of the wording in the audit that the presenter, Shery Owen, did not have answers to at that time.  Owen said that if the board emailed her she would get the answers to their questions. The second presentation of the night was from Jerria Martin on behalf of Drug-Free Like Me. Martin said that the school district had been with her since day one and she wanted to show her appreciation with awards to the board members and Superintendent Anthony Sampson.

“We’re celebrating successfully completing our 7th year of service in Dallas County. Just as we gave our Hope Builder Awards to our business partners, we wanted to do something special to honor our other community partners who’ve helped us make DFC what we are today,” Martin said. “Our school systems are our MVPs (Most Valuable Partners) as they have supported our Junior Hope Dealer program wholeheartedly, entrusting us with empowering our students with the tools and knowledge they need to be drug-free. The awards given were MVP plaques to each board member and the “king hope” award trophy to the superintendent, as the faithful leader of the system.”

The third presenter was Latonia Tisdale of the Keith Middle-High School Athletic Booster Club. She went before the board and requested support from the board on building Keith their own Softball and Baseball Fields. The baseball team did not get to play a home game this past season due to the damages at Bloch Park. In a letter that Tisdale gave to the board she that it is in the board and communities hands to help make this happen.

“With your help, we can put an end to the coaches, players and parents’ frustration beginning next school season for baseball and softball,” Tisdale said in the letter.

Along with the letter she gave a budget and benefits of a home field. The budget for the field was $350,000. On the budget, each part of the field was priced and itemized. Under benefits, she mentioned the Increase revenue through ticket sales and concessions and the Decreased school expenses for travel. Board member Leroy Miles said after the presentation that if the superintendent would give the recommendation then the board would support the building of a field at Keith.

The board next heard from Jolisa Evans Watson who is the daughter of the late Joe Evans. She presented to the board to ask the board to consider naming the gym after her father.

“I feel like my father deserves his flowers,” Watson said.

After her presentation Miles along with School board president Mamie Solomon talked about knowing her father and Solomon was so moved by the presentation that she got up from her chair and shared a hug with Watson.

The final presentation was from the Southside community. Jeffery Bonner spoke on some basic things that he felt Southside High School was missing. He talked about a fence that was still down from a wreck earlier in the year and the bathrooms at Southside. There were some things like the bathrooms that Sampson was able to address at the time but others that the board said they would look into.

Bonner said Keith and Southside needed their own Softball and Baseball Fields, but better facilities. The football field last year according to Bonner held a lot of water which caused a lot of problems as well. The last thing Bonner talked about was allowing the gyms to be open in the summer. He said that with the violence going on it was important to have a place the kids can go to occupy their time.

Later in the meeting, the board moved on to the business part of the agenda. There was a vote that approved a revised school calendar for the 2023-24 year. The board had originally approved a calender back in March but do a schedule conflict with WCCS a different calendar was approved.

With summer on the horizon, the board started to make arrangements for the Summer Work Schedule for those who were under a 12-month contract. Sampson recommended that those who worked in the summer in the control center would work 7:45 a.m.-5:15 p.m. during the summer months. The board approved the superintendent’s recommendation. Sampson earlier in the meeting presented a slide show that talked about the Alabama Accountability Act Schools Designation Plan for 2023-24. This would allow students to have the option to move schools within the district if they so chose.

The board had to vote to approve the plan. Miles had a concern for the athletes who moved to other schools and if they would be deemed ineligible to play their sport at the new school. Sampson had a response.

“Sometimes as a superintendent, your just proud,” Sampson said.

Someone in his staff had found the answer for the board. It showed that as long as the student moved within the district they would be eligible to play according to the AHSAA.

The final piece of business was on the Delta Rehab Services for special needs students. The board approved getting a new company in to get the services they needed for those students since the original company could not provide the services.

Solomon added that the board needed an Executive Session. After a lengthy Executive Session, the board reconvened in regular session. There were votes done on Principal Contract Renewals and Personel Exhibits after the session. Solomon made announcements and adjourned the meeting.