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Schools could be forced into job cuts

Employees in the Marengo County school system may lose their jobs in 2003 due to a financial crunch.

Luke Hallmark, county school superintendent, told members of the county board of education November 26 that "due to the financial crisis in school systems throughout Alabama, it will be necessary to make personnel cuts."

Layoffs at the end of the 2002-2003 school year are expected, he said, with as many as 18 teachers or support personnel to be let go.

Hallmark said he believes the county commission takes seriously the funding issue as the body considers another one-cent sales tax, a portion of which might help the county’s three school systems.

In other action from the November 26 county BOE meeting, Hallmark reported that October revenue from the one-cent sales tax ($140,518 split between three school systems) is down from the month before but up from 2001.

Enrollment after 40 days for the school year is only down seven students from the projected figure. The total current enrollment in county schools is 1,712.

Mike McAlpine was chosen as the board chairman and Babs Pritchett was selected vice chair.

All bids for county school system internet access and data video distribution were rejected by the board. The entire project will be rebid.

The school system has successfully completed a corrective action plan mandated by the State Board of Education, Hallmark said.

Academic assistance for a terminally ill student at Marengo High School in Dixons Mills was approved by the board. The student has cancer and will be taught at home by a school system employee.