Linden BOE approves budget, discusses renovations

The Linden Board of Education approved the FY 2020 budget and the second budgeting hearing on Sept. 9. Expected revenue is $5,999,123 with expenses projected as $5,997,229.

During a board meeting on Sept. 25,  Superintendent Timothy Thurman presented the board with a plan for the next phase of the school system’s five-year renovation plan. George P. Austin Junior High School will undergo renovations costing an estimated $557,798.

“Most of [our school buildings] haven’t been renovated in 40 years except for the elementary school,” Thurman said. Linden Elementary School renovations were the first phase completed in summer of 2018.

The $557,798 project will add a 500-square-foot entrance vestibule and a new bus canopy. The interior of the building will see a new HVAC installed in the gym as well as new flooring, paint, toilet partitions, drinking fountains and ADA upgrades. Exterior skin will also be demolished.

The project will be paid for via capital outlay, general funds and money received from other districts and hospitals for the use of a Black Warrior tower in the area.

The long-term renovation plan includes scheduled renovations LES, GPA, Linden High School and the school district’s central office. The addition of a new multipurpose room at the elementary school and a new athletic building are also included in the plans.

Marcus West, LHS principal, and George Hampton, GPA principal, both updated the board of the school year’s progress their schools. West said students were taking advantage of many offerings such as dual enrollment, an ACT WorkKeys boot camp and a college fair. Hampton’s students also have an upcoming career day to attend, as well as a groundbreaking on Oct. 30 at 8:30 a.m. for the Blackbelt’s first outdoor classroom where students will learn about agriculture.

Other items approved at the meeting include:

• Thurman’s search for a part-time principal for LES. Thurman currently serves as principal for the elementary school in addition to his duties as superintendent.

• financial statements for August 2019 and all bank reconciliations

• amending the previous contract between Exford Architects. The company will be performing the renovations throughout the school system, and the contract needed to be amended in order to reflect an updated pricing estimate.

• the purchase of a new Blue Bird 78 passenger bus for Fiscal Year 2020 for $94,555.

The Linden Board of Education meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at 4 p.m. at the main office. The public is invited to attend.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, October 2 issue of the Demopolis Times.)