BOE discusses empty school buildings
by Briana Webster
Jun 14, 2014 | 3604 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With three county schools officially closed, what does the Walker County Board of Education plan to do with the empty institutions? 

Superintendent Jason Adkins said T.S. Boyd Elementary/Jr. High School is in the process of being acquired by the city of Dora and the Yerkwood community.

“The community of Dora and the community of Yerkwood are working together in a joint effort to collaborate and obtain that school for the betterment of the children in Dora. [They’re] going to use the gym for sporting activities, and there are enough rooms for the volunteer fire department to meet,” Adkins said. “... There’s a thousand possibilities with a facility like that. You could have daycares, GED classes, tutoring, summer programs, community meetings. So, they’re moving forward, and they have plans for Boyd.” 

Adkins then added that he had spoken briefly with people in both Sipsey and Parrish, yet neither one of the towns has come forward with anything solid about obtaining the empty schools. However, Adkins said time is quickly running out for the small towns to make a decision.

“If they don’t move pretty quick, I’m going to put them up for auction. I don’t want to see them wasted, fall in and begin to be vandalized,” Adkins said. “I would like to emphasize to those two communities, Sipsey and Parrish, that if they want those schools, they need to actively pursue it. In a short amount of time, we’re going to seek other opportunities to keep those facilities up.”

There has already been someone in the Sipsey community wanting to purchase the school and an auction company that has approached Adkins about possibly auctioning the empty buildings; however, Adkins said he would like to see the two properties used by the rural towns.

“I’m not interested in making money ... I want them to be used in the community for the community kids for community purposes,” Adkins said, “but they’re going to have to take that offer and move forward with it.

“... All they have to do is let me know, ‘Hey, this is what we’re going to do,’ and start working on it, talking about it and get something going, and we’ll work with them and wait. But if they’re not interested in it, I need to know because we don’t want them torn up.” 

In other business, board members: 

•approved the regular list of leaves of absence and resignations/retirements, professional list and any amendments/corrections made to the May 15 transfer and non-renewal personnel lists.

•approved budget amendment No. 2 presented by the system’s chief school financial officer, Margaret Scurlock.

•approved the bids for industrial maintenance and precision machine equipment for the Walker County Center of Technology. In a joint effort between the Walker County and Jasper City school systems and Bevill State Community College, a grant was obtained worth approximately $700,000 that will go toward the Industrial Maintenance program which begins this fall at the BSCC incubator located off Industrial Boulevard.

Those bidders include the companies Hardin Machine, Faro Technologies, Phillips Corp., GF Machining and Hart Machine Tool. Bids were received Friday, May 23.

•approved a school trip of Oakman High School students to attend the 4-H Leadership Conference in Columbiana June 30-July 2.

•approved membership renewal with Alabama Association of School Boards.

•approved HeadStart training reports and information, program information and budget reports, handbooks (2)-no content revisions only dates for 2014-2015, organizational chart and monitoring matrix.

•approved the CNP department entering a consortium (joint purchase) agreement.

•approved the sale of excess equipment (a 1984 John Deere tractor) from Parrish High School at market value to George Harland, a former PHS principal.

“Farley Tractor said it was $2,500, and we got on the Internet and looked and the wholesale value was between $1,200 and $1,700. But, I think he had about $2,700 in cash that he paid, if I’m not mistaken,” Adkins said. “... Out of pocket, he’s got a $1,500 check to the board [and a] $1,238 check to the board, which is a total of $2,738 just for that, and then [he has] those 30 years of dealing with it.”

After the meeting, Adkins spoke on the progress of the new Sumiton school and the increase of enrollment at Cordova and Oakman high schools.

Some of the construction has slowed at the site of the new school due to the excessive amount of rain the county has received over the past two weeks, but Adkins said the only thing workers have left to do is pour the asphalt for the parking lot and other finishing details. He assured that had it not been for the rain that the school would have been completed by now.

Adkins said enrollment at Oakman and Cordova high schools is split 50/50, but middle school enrollment leaned more toward Oakman with a split of 70/30 for students.

The next regular scheduled board meeting will be Thursday, July 10, at 4:30 p.m.