Head Start passes fiscal audit, two Lowndes County School remain on failing schools list

Published 6:28 pm Friday, January 17, 2014

By Fred Guarino

January is school board appreciation month for Lowndes County Public Schools and other school systems throughout the state, and the Lowndes County Board of Education received a mix bag of positive and negative news at last Thursday night’s meeting at Hayneville Middle School.

Positives include excellent audits of the Lowndes County Public School Head Start Program, and the installation of a covered walkway at Hayneville Middle that was the desire of the parents and family of at least one handicapped student.

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Negatives were the fact that Hayneville Middle School and Lowndes County Middle School remain on the failing school’s list for 2014, a program that checks the health status of elementary and middle school showed 118 students to be obese and the board voted to indefinitely suspend a Hayneville Middle School student.

Beginning with Thursday night’s meeting and going forward, the Lowndes County Board of Education approved and will approve the financial statement, profit and loss detail report and check detail report for the Head Start Program on a monthly basis.

Lowndes County School Superintendent Dr. Daniel Boyd announced the result of a fiscal audit of the Head Start program for the school district looking at all the money the program receives and how it is actually spent saying, “I’m very, very proud to say that the audit was outstanding and Ms. (Samita L.) Jeter (director) and her program passed with flying colors.”

Boyd said there were no ties to this audit by anyone with a vested interest.

He stressed that the Head Start Program for Lowndes County Public School passed both a program audit and a fiscal audit saying, “That’s good news.”

Boyd also announced, “We have a covered walkway at Hayneville Middle School.”

He said over the Christmas Break a local contractor completed the majority of work on a covered walkway which connects the cafeteria of the school to a wing of the school.

Mattisa Moorer, a Hayneville Middle School parent, previously expressed concerns over accessibility to the school for her daughter, Kerstin, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy since infancy and recently diagnosed with both scoliosis and epilepsy.

One of her concerns had been the sidewalk was not covered so that Kerstin “is literally left outside in the rain.”

Boyd also announced he had received word that it will be possible to have an audit of all the schools in the district this year.

On the negative side, according to an Alabama Accountability Act report released last Wednesday by the State Department of Education, Hayneville Middle School and Lowndes County Middle School remain on the failing schools list.

Boyd told school board members, “We are really disappointed that has happened. We’re working really hard to have data rooms and meetings and classroom visits by the Central Office (staff) to help remediate that problem.”

Boyd said failing schools are in the bottom 6 percent of schools for which, he said, getting off the list takes years.

Lowndes County Middle School and Hayneville Middle School were on the list last year.

When asked what is being done, Boyd said, “We have to increase student achievement. “

He said, “What we’re ding as a district is we’re making more classroom visits, we’re providing professional development to our principals and to our teachers. And we also use our data rooms to analyze what our teachers doing and how well our students are performing.”

Boyd said as a school district letters have to be sent to parents that their children attend a failing school, which will go out at the end of January.

A Kid Check Program, Boyd said, showed 118 elementary and middle students were obese.

And the board approved the indefinite suspension of a student from Hayneville Middle School retroactive to Dec. 19, 2013 for making a threat against a board employee.

Boyd announced the Spelling Bee for grades 3-8 will be held Jan. 28 at Lowndes County Middle School at 6 p.m.

As part of the school board appreciation celebrated at Hayneville Middle School, Jaela Lee, an eighth grade student at HMS, welcomed board members; Jerrica Knight, a seventh grader at HMS read a poem; and Quartez Armour, a sixth grader, read a resolution from the town of Hayneville.

The school board will next meet Feb. 13 at the Central Office in Hayneville.