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BOE approves incentives to recruit teachers

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The Demopolis City Schools Board of Education has worked to develop a plan to entice new teachers to the system by approving an incentive program during the regular meeting Oct. 17 at the central office.

Aimed at recruiting K-12 Special Education teachers, 6-12th grade Math teachers and 6-12 grade Science teachers, the incentives will be a $1000 signing bonus on first contract day along with a $500 bonus on anniversary of contract day and another $500 on second anniversary of first day for a total of $2,000.

The first five new teacher hires who fit this criterion will also be given care packages by business partners of the system.

Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff said developing the new incentive program fulfills one of the goals of the DCSS strategic plan.

Also during the meeting, the board discussed updates to the Career Technical Education program in the system.

Currently, the system offers Business Management and Administration, Finance and Insurance, Marketing, Culinary Arts and Hospitality, Health Sciences, Industrial Maintenance, Welding and ROTC.

After meeting with Executive Advisory Committee, Kallhoff determined the next step for the system is to start an HVAC program with aid from Shelton State Community College.

Because HVAC is considered a priority one program, classes could be tuition free for the students through applied grants.

The program could start as soon as January with a pilot group of students and be fully available by August 2017 with a two-year program.

Alongside the HVAC program, Kallhoff discussed adding a CDL Class B dual enrollment class, which would allow license holders to operate forklifts and straight trucks. To enroll, a student must be 18 years old.

With adding new programs, the culinary arts program will be phased out as the goal of career tech is to prepare students for local jobs of which there are not many culinary arts jobs noted the superintendent.

In an effort to facilitate that move, the board approved a measure to release culinary arts equipment purchased with state bond money bought in 2015. The equipment, worth $60,000, was never installed and belongs to the state and will be used in other school districts in the state.

Kallhoff said the system would look to replace culinary arts with a teaching and training program which would help students find work locally as well as abroad.

Another program being discussed to add is Environmental and Natural Resources which includes forestry, agriscience and environmental management.

The board approved two Memorandums of Understanding, the first with West Central Alabama Area Health Education Center, Inc. to allow six seniors to work in physicians’ offices in a co-op program perhaps through graduation. The other with the Marengo County Board of Education to provide transportation for a student through West Alabama Public Transportation.

In the personnel report, the board approved the conditional employment of Corey McCormack as Technology Technician; substitute licenses for Karen Durbin, Amy Ward and Willie Lucy; a professional certificate for Rickie Ann Elliott and maternity leave/FMLA for Lisa Martin, Pre-K teacher at Westside Elementary School starting on Jan. 16, 2017 until Feb. 27, 2017.

The board also approved an overnight trip for the DECA program to Birmingham on Feb. 22-23.

The next regular meeting is set for Nov. 14 at the central office on Cedar Avenue.