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Demopolis education board offers support for Riley plan

The Demopolis Board approved a resolution supporting Governor Bob Riley’s tax reform plan. The plan, which will be titled "Amendment One" on the September 9 ballot, will be voted up or down by Alabama citizens. Education officials hope the new taxes will fix a $675 million deficit for fiscal year 2004.

Riley’s plan does a lot for poor people, Hill said. "Also, it is a worthy plan for the elderly. It maintains no state property for 65 or older.

Board chairman Mike Randall stressed that even with the new taxes Alabama "will pay less tax than any other state in the southeast."

Board member Kathy Leverett brought up criticism that 20,000 to 30,000 small business jobs would be lost due to new taxes. Hill said teachers are also leaving the state because of the under funded education system. "We’re losing jobs by not having the image we need in the state to draw outsiders in," Hill said.

Gina Johnston from the school system office encouraged board members and staff to sell Riley’s to the people. However, she said no school funds would be used in the promoting the tax plan.

In other action from Monday’s meeting, the board approved on the second reading the new policy governing the use of athletic fields in the city school system.

Any request for use of Memorial Stadium, Floyd Field or other athletic facilities will now go through Demopolis High School Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Doug Goodwin.

Board member Eddas K. Easley voted against the policy. She had no comment on her opposition after the meeting.

The policy change comes after the Tiny Tigers football league was allowed by the board to use Memorial Stadium in 2002 over the objection of board chairman Randall and school superintendent Hill.

Collins Communications won the low bid of $16,836.45 for a new intercom system at U.S. Jones Elementary School.

Linda Agee, custodian of funds for the city school system, had her job title renamed as Chief School Finance Officer. The job title is in line with new accountability requirements, Hill said.

The board approved the resignations of Deitsi Lewis of Demopolis Middle School and Carlene Hooper of Demopolis High School.

Nancy Seale, a computer lab aide at Westside Elementary School and one of several non-tenured personnel not rehired in April, will be brought back. She will be paid with federal funds. "She has a vital position with the school," Hill said.

Tony Speegle, U.S. Jones principal, asked the board for funds to paint the hallway of the building housing the fourth and fifth grade classes. The teachers had already been painting their own rooms, he said.

Budget hearings for fiscal year 2004 will be held at 4:30 p.m. on August 18 and 5 p.m. on August 25 at the board office. The meetings are open to the public.

The next board of education meeting is 5:15 p.m. on August 18.