Construction of the new school in Fort Payne hasn't stopped because of the pandemic, but heavy rains have slowed progress somewhat with a good bit of soil erosion to contend with.
“We are still hopeful for a Christmas completion date,” said City Superintendent Jim Cunningham at last week’s Board of Education meeting.
He recommended using the phrase “intermediate school” instead of elementary and asked the school board to consider possible names for the campus that have been suggested so they can officially name it at their next regular Board meeting scheduled for May 14 at 11 a.m.
In other business, the board heard the results of an audit of the school system’s finances from Bill Massey, CPA, of MDA Professional Group, P.C. Massey noted it was a clean report with no irregularities found. Massey thanked Chief Financial Officer Patty Strickland and others he dealt with for their cooperation.
“Overall, 2019 was a very good year financially for the board. In the near term, you should be okay. Longer term, we will just have to see how long this lockdown lasts. On down the road, we’ll see what happens,” Massey told the board.
The board also noted the Fort Payne City Council’s appointment of Sharon Jones to fill the seat of Vice-President Randy McClung, beginning in June. Cunningham expressed appreciation to McClung for a decade of service to the Fort Payne City Schools, calling him “an outstanding public servant with a heartfelt conviction” who managed the system to be financially sound. The superintendent also noted his confidence that Jones is another great pick by the city.
The board also:
• accepted the retirements of bus driver Ramona Bachelor and sixth grade teacher Debbie Richards from Fort Payne Middle School.
• accepted the resignations of Williams Avenue third grade teacher Chasity Gore and Wills Valley EL teacher Amanda Moses.
• approved leave requests from FPMS math teacher Rachel Blevins, to return on April 6, 2020, and an additional year’s leave of absence for Melissa Campbell to serve as AMSTI Math, Science and Technology trainer for the University of Alabama in Huntsville for the entire 2020-2021 school year.
• approved the transfer of Brandee Hughes from fifth grade teacher to sixth grade teacher at FPMS, effective for the 2020-2021 school year.
• approved hiring Hannah Rackard as systemwide special education speech language pathologist and Carolyn Rowland as math teacher at Fort Payne High School – both effective August 4, 2020 through May 27, 2021.