Kennedy, Beaty sworn in as new county BOE members


Trent Kennedy and Dr. Vonda Beaty were both sworn in as new board members of the Walker County Board of Education Thursday evening.

Kennedy will serve as representative for District 1 (Curry Elementary, Curry Middle and Curry High schools), while Beaty will represent District 3 (Bankhead Middle, Cordova Elementary, Cordova High, Oakman Elementary, Oakman High, Parrish Elementary and Valley Jr. High schools).  

Beaty was sworn in by Honorable Circuit Judge Hoyt Elliott, and Kennedy was sworn in by Honorable Charles R. Stephens.

Kennedy is actively involved in Curry schools, and Beaty is a former superintendent for Walker County Schools. 

Jamie Rigsby and Bill Edd Gilbert were also recognized Thursday as outgoing board members, representing District 1 and District 3, respectively.

"I would like to recognize them once again, and thank them for their service to the Walker County school system and the children of Walker County," Walker County Schools Interim Superintendent Dr. Joel Hagood said. 

Hagood, who won the superintendent's race on Tuesday, will not be sworn in until January.

According to board attorney Mark Boardman, even though Hagood is already interim superintendent, he will still not officially take office until January. Boardman added that Hagood was privately sworn in as interim superintendent in August. 

In other business, the school board:

• accepted the FY18 financial statement through Sept. 30 from Chief School Financial Officer Margaret Scurlock.

Scurlock pointed out a number of figures in the budget, including a drop in fund assets from 2016 to 2018. The board's current total assets are just over $12 million, and were over $21 million in 2016.

"The explanation for that is very simple. We had an $8 million loan in 2016, and we borrowed that money to do some building projects. Of course, most of the money was still in the bank on Sept. 30, 2016," she said. "As we got into 2017, we began to spend the money as we began to do the projects. Then in 2018, we had spent all of the money. That accounts in the difference of our total assets."

As of Sept. 30, 2018, Scurlock reported at total funds balance of roughly $11.4 million, with a general fund balance of just over $7.2 million.  

The school board continues to meet the required one-month operating reserve, and actually has a 1.25 months operating reserve of roughly $5.75 million. Hagood said it's still a figure that needs to be monitored closely.

"We are carrying 51 local units, and that's above the Foundation of what the state provides for us. Additional raises are being discussed with the state, so ... if those raises come, we will be responsible for those raises," Hagood said. "We need to be conservative and really prioritize in moving forward."

• approved to post the chief school financial officer position, in light of Scurlock's recently announced retirement.

• approved volunteer coaches Murray Bondman (renewal, basketball at Cordova High) and Landon Bice (basketball at Carbon Hill High).

• approved a list of schools trips, along with $500 stipends for Cordova High and Bankhead Middle students to attend the BEST Robotics competition in Auburn.