School board approves superintendent’s contract Greene County schools awarded $300,000 for school based 21st Century Community Learning Centers

At the Greene County school board meeting held Sept. 18, 2017, Superintendent James Carter announced that the school system, in partnership with the Greene County Children’s Policy Council, under the leadership of District Judge Lillie Jones Osborne, was awarded two 21st Century Community Learning Center Grants (CCLC) for Eutaw Primary School and Robert Brown Middle School, totaling $300,000. The projects will serve 100 students at each school facility with a 36-weeks after school program (Monday through Friday) and a four-to-six-weeks summer enrichment program.
The 21st CCLC programs at both schools will focus on Reading, Math and Science, and (STEM), Arts and Music education, tutorial services, language enhancement, recreational skills, entrepreneurial education and nutrition and health education, counseling and expanded library access.
The project also includes programs that promote parental involvement and family literacy, and drug, bullying and violence prevention programs.
“The current funding of this 21st Century CCLC project is a significant boost to our overall goals and efforts in preparing our students academically as well as equipping them with relevant life skills,” said Dr. Carter.
According to Dr. Carter, the sponsoring partners have scheduled orientation and training for timely implementation of the programs.
At its September meeting, the school board approved a contract agreement with Superintendent Dr. James H. Carter, Sr. for the period 2018-2020.
Other personnel actions of the school board included the following:
*Approved the resignation of Lamar Lavender, Custodian at Greene County High, effective September, 2017.

*Approved employment of Tina Cherry as Substitute Cook, Child Nutrition Program.
*Approved Additional Service Contracts 2017 – 2018 Greene County High School: (Separate Contract) Karon Coleman – Head Track Coach.
*Approved Catastrophic Leave for Angelia Hood – Special Education Coordinator, Central Office; Family Medical Leave for Linda Merriweather – Cook, at Greene County High School and for Freddie Merriweather – Bus Driver, Transportation Department.The board approved the following administrative services:
*Greene County Schools One-on-One Technology Handbook.
*Implementation Guide of Curriculum Component for Strategic Plan (Phase 1).
*Contract between Greene County Board of Education and Greene County Sheriff ‘s Department through Football season.
*Contract between Greene County Board of Education and Greene County Commission for School Resource Officers, for the following schools: Greene County High School; Robert Brown Middle School and Greene County Learning Academy.
*First Reading of the Travel Policy.
Superintendent Carter also reported on the following initiatives in the school system.
*Teachers in grades Pre-K – 3rd will be trained in how to implement the Math Their Way concept, an approach which incorporates adding concrete means in calculations.
*Students at Robert Brown Middle School will have the opportunity to engage in a community garden program.
*Provide opportunities for students in grades 4 -12 to engage in the National Park Service Programs.
*Field trips will have a greater focus on historical sites in and around Greene County this school year. Also, a main focus will be on the contributions that Black citizens made in the civil rights movement.
*We are exploring the possibilities of implementing during this school year a salad bar for students and teachers at all schools. Students also have the opportunity to provide input in the school menu.

Eutaw City Council concerned about financial recordkeeping and reporting

At its regular meeting on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, the Eutaw City Council was unable to get a second and vote on a motion made by Councilman Joe Lee Powell to pay bills for the month of August.
Three Council members present, LaTasha Johnson, Jeffrey Carpenter and Sheila H. Smith expressed misgivings about paying the bills without a more detailed financial statement and record of the City’s finances and bank accounts. Councilman Bennie Abrams was absent and was not present to second or vote on the motion. Had Abrams been present, the motion may have resulted in a tie vote on paying the bills.
Councilwoman LaTasha Johnson said she sent Mayor Steele a letter asking for specific information about bills and bank accounts especially the funds coming from electronic bingo. Councilman Carpenter said he has been pushing for many years for the city to have a budget and pay bills based on a plan and a budget.

Mayor Steele said the City of Eutaw did not have its records in proper form to provide the reports and budget that were being requested. Steele said Council members could come to City Hall “at any time and request that the City Clerk show them any bills, bank statements or other financial data they want to see.”
Steele said that he had discussed this with James Gardner, the City’s CPA and accounting firm and was advised that additional funds were needed to train and support City Hall staff to enter information in the computer system to generate the needed reports. Steele said that he would invite Gardner to speak with the Council at a work session on Monday, September 18, 2017 to explain the situation.
At the Council Work Session, Gardner explained that the last audit for the City of Eutaw was done by him in FY2012 and that a Financial Compilation Report and Financial Statement was done for fiscal year 2014, through September 30, 2014. There have been no financial statements or reports done by his firm for the ensuing fiscal years of 2015, 2016 and 2017. Bank statements and files of receipts and expenditures are on file in the City Hall, which could be used to construct a financial statement and reports.
Gardner said that he would send an estimate of the cost to do these unaudited compilation statements by the next City Council meeting. Gardner said it would cost $4,000 to $7,000 to train City Hall staff to enter financial information in a modified QuickBooks system, for the city’s multiple accounts, starting October 1, 2017. Once this training was done and the system was properly maintained he could do an audited statement for the FY2018, which ends September 30, 2018.
Mayor Steele said that he would bring a report from the CPA firm on recordkeeping, accounting and financial reporting to the next meeting for the Council to make a formal decision.
At the Council Work Session, Mayor Steele reported that the City water system expansion project was moving toward conclusion. More new digitized self-reporting water meters will still be installed, including individual meters in Carver Circle taking the place of a single master meter.
Steele said the new water tank would be painted by the end of October and put into operation by the end of the year. This would allow the power pole to be moved from its temporary location in the street near the Courthouse to its permanent place. The Mayor also indicated that the water line contractor would return to fix other areas that were affected by the construction.
The Mayor indicated that the City’s knuckle-boom truck to cut and remove trees from city roadways was in the shop and would require $18,000 to $20,000 to repair. He reported that both City backhoes were also in the shop for repair and that the city workers were doing their best to pick up branches piled up on the side of roads and streets.
Steele said, “Our equipment is very old and in need of repair and upgrading. We are going to do our best to prepare for the Tour of Homes, scheduled for October 7 and 8, in Eutaw.”
At the September 12 Council meeting, Councilwoman Sheila H. Smith confronted Mayor Steele and tried to make a motion to deny the Mayor the use of a new 2017 Tahoe, he uses for conducting city business. Smith said the vehicle could be better used by the Police Department.
Steele said he needed the car to show visitors interested in the community, a positive image of the community. He also said he needed a reliable vehicle to travel to meetings to seek resources for the city. The Mayor suggested that Smith was taking these actions against him, as personal retribution, because he had requested that she turn in her city issued cell phone. The Mayor was successful in ruling the motion out-of-order but the issue lingers and may come up again in future meetings.

Newswire : Medicaid funding, public transportation highlight Arise’s 2018 priorities

Alabama Arise logo

New Medicaid revenue and creation of a state Public Transportation Trust Fund are among the goals on Alabama Arise’s 2018 legislative agenda. Nearly 200 Arise members picked the group’s issue priorities at its annual meeting Saturday in Montgomery. The seven goals chosen were:

· Tax reform, including untaxing groceries and closing corporate income tax loopholes;
· Adequate funding for vital services like education, health care and child care, including approval of new tax revenue to prevent Medicaid cuts;
· Consumer protections to limit high-interest payday loans and auto title loans in Alabama;
· Dedicated state revenue for the Alabama Housing Trust Fund;
· Reforms to Alabama’s death penalty system, including a moratorium on executions;
· Creation of a state Public Transportation Trust Fund; and
· Reforms to Alabama’s criminal justice debt policies, including changes related to cash bail and driver’s license revocations for minor offenses.

“All Alabamians deserve equal justice and an opportunity to build a better life for themselves and their families,” Alabama Arise state coordinator Kimble Forrister said. “We’re excited to continue our work for policy changes that would make it easier for hard-working Alabamians to get ahead.”

More than one in five Alabamians – almost all of whom are children, seniors, pregnant women, or people with disabilities – have health coverage through Medicaid. That coverage plays an important role in keeping hospitals and doctors’ offices open across the state, especially in rural areas.

“Medicaid is the backbone of Alabama’s health care system, and we must keep it strong,” Forrister said. “The Legislature needs to step up and approve new, sustainable revenue for Medicaid in 2018. It’s time to stop the annual funding battles and ensure all Alabamians have access to health care.”

Lack of adequate transportation is another major challenge that limits economic growth and erects barriers to daily living for many low-income residents and people with disabilities across Alabama. Arise will push for creation of a state Public Transportation Trust Fund as a step toward closing that gap. A bill to create a trust fund passed the Senate this year and has momentum heading into 2018.

Alabama Arise is a nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition of congregations, organizations and individuals promoting public policies to improve the lives of low-income Alabamians.

Newswire : Historic marker honors Autherine Lucy Foster, Tuscaloosa Civil Rights heroine


 U. A. campus to honor Autherine Lucy Foster; and her 1956 student photo
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A giant in civil rights history was recognized on Friday, September 15, 2017 with the unveiling of the Autherine Lucy Foster Historic Marker at The University of Alabama.
An afternoon ceremony was held on the lawn of Graves Hall. Speakers were UA President Stuart R. Bell, Dr. Peter Hlebowitsh, dean of the College of Education; Marian Accinno Loftin, a UA distinguished alumna; and Dr. E. Culpepper “Cully” Clark, former UA dean and communication professor emeritus and author of “The Schoolhouse Door: Segregation’s Last Stand at The University of Alabama.”
In stressing Foster’s importance to UA’s history, Bell said, “Mrs. Foster’s initiative and courage opened the doors and created the opportunity for all races to attend the University. This historic marker will serve as a testament to her enduring impact on our campus and beyond.”
Hlebowitsh said the idea for the marker came from faculty who petitioned the University to place a historic marker near the site where Foster first attempted to enroll but was driven away by a mob in 1956.
“We are gratified that the University is recognizing Mrs. Foster in this manner,” Hlebowitsh said. “This honor is in keeping with the magnitude of her contributions to the history of our University.”
On being notified of the honor, Foster said, “I never imagined my decision to enroll would affect so many in so many ways. Today, I have several children who have attended the University and am, myself, a proud graduate and member of the alumni association. I am very humbled that the University has chosen to recognize me in this way.”
The Autherine Lucy Foster story is one of persistence, patience and desire for self-improvement. In 1952, after graduating with an English degree from Miles College, she applied to UA but was rejected because of her race. After a three-year legal battle, she was admitted by court order.
On Wednesday, Feb. 1, 1956, she registered as a student in UA’s College of Education. That Friday, Feb. 3, she attended her first class as a graduate student in library science, becoming the first black person in Alabama admitted to a white public school or university. But on Monday, Feb. 6, as some 3,000 protested, the board of trustees expelled her, citing her and other students’ safety.
Loftin was in a children’s literature class with Foster on that fateful day. She had these memories of the turbulence as well as of Foster’s contributions to UA history:
“On Friday, February 3, Autherine’s first day in class, she crossed the Quad alone without notable incident. But on Monday a crowd gathered, and the disturbance accelerated. Chants became angry shouts. Our class was dismissed, and Autherine was ushered out of the building to safety.”
Loftin continued: “I had the honor of nominating her to the College of Education’s Educator Hall of Fame — our College’s highest honor — and to be seated at her table in 2016 when she was inducted. It was a delight to see her interact with the guests, who admired her so greatly. Seated in her wheelchair, she was gracious, with a good-natured sense of humor.”
In 1988, the University officially annulled her expulsion. The next year she re-enrolled at UA with her daughter, Grazia. Foster earned a master’s in elementary education in 1991 and participated in the graduation ceremony in May 1992 with her daughter, a corporate finance major.
In 1998, UA named an endowed fellowship in Foster’s honor and unveiled a portrait of her in the Student Union Building. She was recognized again in 2010 when the University dedicated the Autherine Lucy Clock Tower recognizing her as one of three UA desegregation pioneers, along with Vivian Malone and James Hood.
Today, UA is a multicultural campus including more than 4,000 African-Americans among its approximately 38,500 students.

Newswire : Congresswoman Terri Sewell’s Statement on Trump Voter Commission Meeting

Voter commission hears from right-wing panel on voter suppression tactics
terri-sewell
 Terri Sewell

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, the Trump Administration’s Election Integrity Commission held a series of public presentations in New Hampshire, receiving testimony from political allies and long-time advocates for discriminatory voter restrictions. Leading the meeting was Commission Co-Chair Kris Kobach, who has a history of voter suppression and who has received wide condemnation from civil liberties and civil rights groups.

“Today’s meeting makes it clear that the real purpose of President Trump’s sham voter commission is to the lay the foundation for voter suppression efforts,” said Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL). “Rather than hearing from experts in the field of election integrity, the commission gathered a panel of Trump loyalists who support severe voter restrictions. This isn’t an investigation, it’s a kangaroo court that has put our access to the ballot box on trial. I strongly believe that to improve the integrity of our elections, we should be making it easier for people to vote, not harder. In Congress, I will not stop fighting to give every eligible voter a voice in our democracy.”

Rep. Terri Sewell is the Vice Chair of the Commission on Protecting American Democracy from the Trump Administration. The group investigates voter suppression, the “voter fraud” myth, and strategies for modernizing the voting process to provide more Americans better access to the polls. Other members include the Commission’s Chair, Jason Kander, and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who has refused to turn over state voter data to Trump’s Election Commission.

President Trump, after losing the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, has falsely claimed that “millions” of illegal votes were cast. The head of Trump’s Election Commission, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has a well-documented history of creating barriers to voting in his home state of Kansas, where he drafted requirements for documentary proof of citizenship to register to vote, which have been tied up in court and administrative battles for years.

Newswire: Former President Barack Obama assails President Trump’s reversal of DACA

Obama speaks about the sequester in WashingtonDACA protest

Former President Barack Obama, and DACA protest

For the first time since leaving the White House in January, former President Barack Obama has issued a full statement in response to an action by President Trump. On Tuesday, Sept. 5, in response to Trump’s reversal of the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA), Obama issued a lengthy Facebook message. Obama expressed deep disappointment in the overturn of his June 15, 2012 executive order, which was intended to protect young adults brought illegally to the U. S. as children. Trump, calling the executive order illegal, reversed it and asked Congress to act on it with legislation, throwing the lives of more than 800,000 people into limbo.
Trump claims to have “great love” for the youth who have become known as “dreamers”. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, making the announcement, said, “We are a people of compassion and we are a people of law. But there is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws.” Obama called it a “cruel” action.
Sessions ordered a six month delay to March 5, 2018 in the implementation of the decision to rescind DACA to allow Congress to act to submit legislation legalizing the program. No new applications for DACA will be accepted. Persons whose DACA status ends between now and March must apply by October 5, 2017 for an extension. DACA gives its holder permission to live, work and attend school in the U. S. without fear of deportation. Trump’s decision makes the future of these young people uncertain and could also adversely affect the economy. Obama posted the following response:
Immigration can be a controversial topic. We all want safe, secure borders and a dynamic economy, and people of goodwill can have legitimate disagreements about how to fix our immigration system so that everybody plays by the rules.
But that’s not what the action that the White House took today is about. This is about young people who grew up in America — kids who study in our schools, young adults who are starting careers, patriots who pledge allegiance to our flag. These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license.
Over the years, politicians of both parties have worked together to write legislation that would have told these young people – our young people – that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here a certain number of years, and if you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, then you’ll get a chance to stay and earn your citizenship. And for years while I was President, I asked Congress to send me such a bill.
That bill never came. And because it made no sense to expel talented, driven, patriotic young people from the only country they know solely because of the actions of their parents, my administration acted to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people, so that they could continue to contribute to our communities and our country. We did so based on the well-established legal principle of prosecutorial discretion, deployed by Democratic and Republican presidents alike, because our immigration enforcement agencies have limited resources, and it makes sense to focus those resources on those who come illegally to this country to do us harm. Deportations of criminals went up. Some 800,000 young people stepped forward, met rigorous requirements, and went through background checks. And America grew stronger as a result.
But today, that shadow has been cast over some of our best and brightest young people once again. To target these young people is wrong — because they have done nothing wrong. It is self-defeating — because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel. What if our kid’s science teacher, or our friendly neighbor turns out to be a Dreamer? Where are we supposed to send her? To a country she doesn’t know or remember, with a language she may not even speak?
Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question. Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us. They are that pitcher on our kid’s softball team, that first responder who helps out his community after a disaster, that cadet in ROTC who wants nothing more than to wear the uniform of the country that gave him a chance. Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages.
It is precisely because this action is contrary to our spirit, and to common sense, that business leaders, faith leaders, economists, and Americans of all political stripes called on the administration not to do what it did today. And now that the White House has shifted its responsibility for these young people to Congress, it’s up to Members of Congress to protect these young people and our future. I’m heartened by those who’ve suggested that they should. And I join my voice with the majority of Americans who hope they step up and do it with a sense of moral urgency that matches the urgency these young people feel.
Ultimately, this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people – and who we want to be.
What makes us American is not a question of what we look like, or where our names come from, or the way we pray. What makes us American is our fidelity to a set of ideals — that all of us are created equal; that all of us deserve the chance to make of our lives what we will; that all of us share an obligation to stand up, speak out, and secure our most cherished values for the next generation. That’s how America has traveled this far. That’s how, if we keep at it, we will ultimately reach that more perfect union.

Newswire : Treasury Secretary Mnuchin brushes aside questions about whether Harriet Tubman will appear on the $20 bill

Harriet Tubman on $20 bill

By Igor Bobic, Huffington Post

WASHINGTON ― Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday declined to support the idea of replacing President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with anti-slavery icon Harriet Tubman.
“Ultimately, we’ll be looking at this issue,” Mnuchin said during an interview on CNBC. “It’s not something that I’m focused on at the moment.”
Mnuchin said “the number one issue” the Treasury Department is concerned with is preventing the counterfeiting of U.S. currency, adding that any potential changes to denominations are “primarily related” to security concerns.
Asked about the cultural significance of persons who appear on U.S. notes, Mnuchin demurred once more.
“This is something we’ll consider,” he said. “Right now we have a lot more important issues to focus on.”
Jack Lew, who served as Treasury secretary under President Barack Obama’s administration, announced the planned change to the front of the $20 bill in April 2016. He said the back of the bill would feature an image of the White House as well as an image of Jackson, the nation’s seventh president.
Lew also announced that the movement to give women the right to vote would be featured on the back of the $10 bill and that the designs of the new bills would be revealed by 2020, marking the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.
During the campaign, candidate Donald Trump called the move to replace Jackson on the $20 bill “pure political correctness.”
“I think Harriet Tubman is fantastic, but I would love to leave Andrew Jackson or see if we can maybe come up with another denomination,” he said.
Subscribe to thewill Trump’s administration
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) responded to Mnuchin’s comment Thursday, tweeting that he should “commit to this popular effort that has bipartisan support.”
Women on 20s, the nonprofit campaign leading the push to put a woman on the $20 by 2020, said it was “confident” that Mnuchin would discover that changing the face of the bill is in the nation’s best interest.
“Security is mostly embodied in the advanced innovations in paper and ink that our money is printed on, not in the faces we choose to honor,” said Barbara Ortiz Howard, the group’s founder. “Including women on our currency can enhance our standing as a nation by bringing us together instead of tearing us apart.”
A Treasury Department spokesperson did not elaborate on Mnuchin’s comments, noting that an updated $20 bill isn’t scheduled to be in circulation until 2026 at the earliest.
Other political observers in Washington, D. C. suggested that this was another opportunity for the Trump Administration to reverse a decision of the Obama Administration and dampen his legacy.