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Marengo BOE budget, school report card scores announced

The Marengo County Board of Education’s approved budget for 2019-2020 lists expected revenue as $12,454,264 and expected expenses to be $12,916,905.95 The budget also states the beginning balance in to be approximately $3.2 million and the ending balance in September of 2020 to be approximately $2.8 million.

K12 Instructional Leader Cathy Seale announced the Marengo County School’s District’s current standing based on the most recent School Report Cards. The district is at an 87 (B) on a 100-point scale overall, which Superintendent Luther Hallmark said put them in the second highest spot in the state.

Sweet Water High School earned a 91 (A), Marengo High School earned a 75 (C) and A.L. Johnson High School earned a 69 (D), though due to a small senior class certain indicators that are rated based on seniors were not counted fully.

A total of 42 students and 7 facilitators underwent Peer Helper training at the central office recently, and Seale said the students were excited to participate. The program is similar to a mentoring program and will teach students to identify and address bullying. Peer Helpers exist in grades 5-10.

“We feel like this is something that’s going to help the culture of our schools,” Seale said.

The district is also in the process of starting a support group for teachers who are studying to become National Board Certified. Interested teachers will be led by a National Board Certified teacher in the process, which includes demonstrating advanced knowledge and skills in four separate components, which are content knowledge and assessment, differentiation in instruction, teaching practice and learning environment and effective and reflective practitioner.

“They work with anybody who wants to [get certified] to help them do the process,” Seale said. Before the support group in Linden, the closest support group was in Tuscaloosa.

Other items discussed include:

• teachers are undergoing training to recognize symptoms of dyslexia and help the students who exhibit them.

• educational leaders in the school district are discussing plans to comply with the Alabama Literacy Act and the Computer Science Act.

• math teachers will undergo training to coincide with updates to the course of study. New math textbooks will also be adopted next school year for the same reason.

• the school system is meeting with Wallace Community College to discuss reopening the career tech partnership with Linden City School System. Seale said she felt it was “promising that it may work out.”

• the school board was honored with a President’s Award by the Alabama Association of School Boards. The award is given to all school boards that have at least 60 percent of members attend at least three AASB conferences in an academic year and have the whole board meet state-mandated training requirements.

Action items approved include:

• financial report for September

• bank statement reconciliation for September

• termination of 2019-2020 Parent and Family Liaison/Attendance Contract

• 2019-2020 Parent and Family Liaison/Attendance Contract

• adopting a resolution for Dyslexia Awareness Month

• two separate loans in needed, one for November payroll and December payroll. As board policy dictates that employees are paid on the last working day of the month, the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks may interfere with the state department’s releasing of funds that are used for teacher salaries. If such a situation arises, the board will borrow the money short-term in order to pay the employees in a timely manner.

The next Marengo County Board of Education meeting will be held on Thursday, November 21 at 4 p.m. in the Marengo County Annex Building’s second-floor board room in Linden. The public is invited to attend.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, November 6 issue of the Demopolis Times.)