Hallmark reflects on successful year

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 13, 2005

LINDEN-Marengo County Superintendent Luke Hallmark took time after Fridays Marengo County School Board meeting to reflect on some of the successes the system saw during the 2004-2005 school year.

Hallmark said he felt progress had been made in many areas of the system.

“I think we made a lot of progress academically,” Hallmark said. “I think we have made a lot of progress with our facilities, and athletically. We won a state championship in football and our basketball teams went back to regionals and our track teams finished high in the state.”

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As a whole, Hallmark said he felt the system was on the right track. He said they planned to increase their reading programs and should see more improvements as a result.

“I think we had a good overall year,” Hallmark said. “We feel like our reading program at Sweet Water is about to finish third in the state. We are putting in reading programs for the other schools ad we look for those schools to rank right there at the top also.”

Hallmark added they do not plan to reflect on last year’s improvement for very long. He said they were always looking ahead to the next year and hoped for even brighter things in 2005-2006 school year.

One of the biggest concerns for the system is declining enrollment in some schools. Hallmark said there simply were not as many students in the area as there once were.

“There is still room for improvement,” Hallmark said. “Our biggest concern is students. It is a trend here in West Central Alabama that there are not as many kids here. It has affected all schools and school systems. We just don’t have as many kids as we have in the past.”

The biggest loss in declining enrollment comes in funding. State the number of students enrolled determines funding and without numbers it can be difficult to secure money.

“The students turn the money wheel,” Hallmark said. “We get money from the state based on the number of students we have in our schools.”

The new SACS standards approved by the legislature will help. The new standards will allow for a full time librarian at John Essex, a full time assistant principal at Sweet Water and part time assistant principals at the other schools. Hallmark said these additions would be huge.

Hallmark said the growing success of the county school system came directly from his peers on the county school board.

“I attribute a lot of our success to the school board,” Hallmark said. “Our school board has been very supportive of our administration here. They enjoy seeing progress being made and they are behind us 100 percent.”

During the business portion of Fridays meeting transportation was the main topic of discussion. The board voted to lease to own 11 school buses from Transportation South. The company will honor last years price of $53,803.45 per bus.