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Superintendent’s contract, budget hearing and clean audit highlight BOE meeting

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

The Lowndes County Board of Education affirmed approval of its contract with Jason Burroughs as school superintendent at its Thursday, Sept. 13 meeting. In addition, the board held a hearing on its fiscal year 2019 budget and learned that the school system received a clean audit for 2016-2017.

During Thursday night’s meeting, held at Central High School in Mosses, the board unanimously accepted Burroughs resignation as assistant superintendent and affirmed his contract as superintendent of schools.

Burroughs submitted a letter resigning as assistant superintendent effective Aug. 30 and accepting a three-year contract as superintendent, effective Sept. 1.

School Board President Ben Davis said of the letter, “This is what we asked him (Burroughs) to do.”

Upon approval of the superintendent’s contract, School Board Vice President Steve Foster said at the previous meeting the board approved a contract and offer for Burroughs under the exact terms the previous superintendent had been under.

He said of Thursday night’s action, “We have it in writing and probably just affirmed that this paper in writing is exactly what we intended it to be.” He said that was, “Probably a more accurate summary of what we did.”

Burroughs said his salary as school superintendent will be $118,000 per year.

Yolanda Reid, chief school financial officer for Lowndes County Public Schools, presented the FY 2019 proposed budget during a budget hearing portion of Thursday night’s meeting.

Reid said total revenues are expected to be $18,853,205 and revenues are expected to be $22,278,086. However, she said she anticipates a beginning balance of $6,469,855.94.

The proposed budget includes state funding of $10,433,113; federal funds of $4,432,058; local funds of $3,817,418; and other funding of $170,616.

Action is anticipated on the budget at the board’s next meeting.

Burroughs announced to the board that an audit report for the school system was set to be released Friday, Sept. 14.

As that report for Oct. 1, 2016 through Sept. 30, 2018 included no findings, Burroughs said, “That’s outstanding. It shows that our people follow the policies and procedures and do hard work each and every day.”

According to the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts, “Tests performed during the audit did not disclose any significant instances of noncompliance with applicable state or local laws and regulations.”

Further, “An unmodified opinion was issued on the financial statements, which means that the board’s financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, its financial position and the results of its operations for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2017.”

Burroughs also announced the school system received a $12,500 Alabama Digital Tools for Teachers Initiative grant to purchase five technology packages known as teacher backpacks to support literacy and or STEM programs.

He said the backpacks will included a minimum of a laptop, a wireless tablet, a projector and professional development.

He said the grant proposal was written by Dr. Benitha D. Mathews, the school system’s director of technology, Office of Technologies Initiatives.

In other matters, board approved the minutes of its Aug. 9, Aug. 13 and Aug. 31 meetings.

The board approved other action items including:

Contracts between the board and:

  • Geraldine Gipson for librarian services at the Calhoun School and Lowndes County Middle School,
  • LaFrederick Davison for maintenance services at Jackson-Steele Elementary
  • Glenwood, Autism & Behavioral Health Center for observation of students with chronic behavioral issues and recommendations for intervention.
  • Stephanie Rogers for professional development of selected teachers.
  • Natasha Holcombe for extracurricular medical care for a Central High student.
  • Care Ambulance for stand-by services at Calhoun and Central High 2018-19 home games.
  • Central Alabama Football Officials Association Inc. for 2018-19 home football games at Lowndes County Middle School.
  • Gorrie Regan for a time clock system.
  • Vision Express Tours for charter bus services for the 21st Century Program.
  • Diana Gray for creative arts instruction for the Lowndes County Head Start Program.
  • Wallace Community College Selma for the Alabama Math and Science Technology Initiative, Sept. 4, 6 and 20.

The board also approved:

  • A memorandum of understanding between the board an College Admissions Made Possible Camp for ACT testing services, teacher support and student college advising.
  • A meeting room order with Hampton Inn by Hilton Montgomery for the AdvancEd Accreditation Team.
  • Order form service agreement with ChildPlus® for management reporting software for the Lowndes County Head Start Program.
  • A revision of the strategic plan.
  • An addendum to FY 2019 salary and schedules.
  • July 2018 financial statement, profit and loss detail report and check detail report for the Lowndes County Head Start Program.
  • July 2018 revenue and expenditures report, financial statement and payroll register based on reconciled bank accounts.
  • Personnel report with exceptions by Donald Carter and Foster.

The board went into executive session to discuss the general reputation and character of certain individuals, but took no votes and made no decisions.

The next meeting will be Thursday, Oct. 11 at the central office in Hayneville.