Leo Branch continues as School Board President; Veronica Richardson as Vice President

The Greene County Board of Education held is monthly meeting Monday, November 13, 2023 (one week early due to Thanksgiving Holiday), and conducted its annual reorganization process.
As the first item of business, school board legal counsel, Attorney Hank Sanders, declared all board offices vacant and called for nominations for the position of President. When there was no immediate response, he urged the board members to act on his request. Board member Robert Davis suggested that the officers remain the same. Attorney Sanders asked for a motion to that effect. Board member Veronica Richardson nominated Mr. Leo Branch for Board President; Mr. Davis offered the motion, seconded by Mr. Merriweather. The motion carried. Mr. Davis nominated Ms. Richardson for Board Vice-President; Mr. Branch offered the motion and Mr. Davis seconded. The motion carried.
The board’s monthly meeting schedule was not formally addressed, but it is assumed that the monthly meetings will continue on the third Monday at 4:30 pm at the Central Office.
The board approved the following personnel items recommend by Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones.
* Supplemental Contract: Howard Crawford, Junior Varsity Basketball Coach, Greene County High School.
* Employment: Arleen Jackson, bus aide; William Mack, full-time bus driver; Carol Caruthers, substitute bus driver.
The board approved the following administrative items recommended by Superintendent Jones.
* Contract between Greene County Board and West Central Official Association for Basketball Games at Robert Brown Middle School for 2023-2024 School Year.
* Memorandum of Understanding for Dual Enrollment between Alabama State University and Greene County Schools (Sophomore, Junior, and Senior-Level Students).
* Travel for Coach Rodney Wesley and Greene County High School basketball team to participate in the Holiday Classic, Biloxi Mississippi during Christmas Break.
* Quote from Bioremsci LLC for mold remediation in the amount of $4,995 for Greene County High School and Resource Center.
* Estimate from Bleachers and Seats.com in the amount of $9,148.52 to repair bleachers at Greene County High School.
* Contract between Greene County Board and Chante Myles-Rice for ACT Prep tutoring Services.
* Facilities Solutions Agreement between Cintas and Greene County Board for Carhartt Featherweight Coveralls for welding class.
Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.
Bank reconciliations as submitted by Mrs. Marquita Lennon, CSFO.
In his report to the board, Attorney Hank Sanders noted that at the August 28, 2023 board meeting, a board member voted on a personnel item in error. He recommended that the Superintendent offer to present the August 28 personnel items again without item E-4. Dr. Jones presented the amended personnel items and, following a motion and a second, the board voted approval. Dr. Jones then recommended approval of Personnel item E-4 from August 28, 2023 meeting. Davis offered the motion to approve; Merriweather offered the second. Branch, Davis and Merriweather voted for the motion; Dancy and Richardson abstained.
CSFO Ms. Marquita Lennon presented Financial Snapshots for the months of September and October.
As of September 30, 2023: Operating Reserve = 4.88M combined general fund reserve; 4.09M cash reserve. All bank accounts have been reconciled. General Fund Bank Balance = $4,151,216.82 (reconciles to the Summary Cash report). Accounts Payable Check Register = $1,988,719.83; Payroll Register = $929,804.96 (Total gross pay to include employer match items). Combined Ending fund Balance = $5,882,474.60. Local Revenue: Property Taxes = 14.133; Sales Taxes – $104.374; Other Taxes = $1,067. Total Local Revenue = $119,574.
Financial Snapshot for October 31, 2023: Operating Reserve = 4.67M; Cash Reserve = 3.17M. All bank accounts have been reconciled. General Fund Bank Balance = $3,803,378.46 (reconciles to the Summary Cash Report). Accounts Payable Check Register = $666,469.46; Payroll Register = $916,873.41. (Total gross pay to include employer match items). Combined En ding Fund Balance = $5,606,094.26. Local Revenue: Property Taxes = $58,956; Sales Taxes = $110,736; Other Taxes = $2,920.
Superintendent Jones gave an update on reported COVID cases in the schools, with only one case in the previous two weeks. He presented positive news from the various schools including events for Teacher Appreciation Day; Students of the month; Fall Activity Fun Days; GCHS students visits to college campuses.

May 4th hearing on State of Alabama’s case against electronic bingo in Greene Co. sets mid-October trial date

Special to the Democrat by John Zippert, Co-Publisher

Retired Birmingham Circuit Judge, Arthur J. Hanes convened a status hearing on the afternoon of May 4, 2023 in the William M. Branch Courthouse, on the State of Alabama’s lawsuit against “illegal gambling machines” operated by four electronic bingo establishments in Greene County. The Sheriff licensed these electronic bingo places under his authority in Constitutional Amendment 743 providing for bingo in Greene County.

At a prior hearing in November 2022, Judge Hanes asked the parties to the lawsuit to engage in a mediation session to see if they could reach a negotiated settlement. The mediation sessions were held earlier in 2023 without a positive result.

At the November 2022 hearing, Judge Hanes dismissed Greenetrack from the lawsuit, since Greenetrack no longer operates electronic bingo. Greenetrack currently has “historical racing machines” under its parimutuel license with the Greene County Racing Commission.

Judge Hanes, who was appointed out of retirement by the Alabama Judicial System, to hear the Greene County electronic bingo case, said the May 4th hearing was to hear from the State of Alabama and the parties, to schedule hearings on outstanding issues and schedule the trial.

State Attorney General Steve Marshall, who originally filed the suit against Greene County electronic bingo machines in 2017, as “nuisance illegal gambling machines” was represented by Assistant Attorney General John L. Kachelman III. Kachelman exhibited some dismay over the delays in the case and kept pressing for a prompt trial and resolution of the case.

Kachelman and the Judge kept referring to the decision of the Alabama Supreme Court in other electronic bingo cases, involving Macon, Lowndes and Jefferson counties, that “bingo is exclusively a game played on paper cards, with five rows and five columns of numbers, wherein the players had to keep up with their numbers manually”, as opposed to the electronic bingo played on machines in Greene County. The State of Alabama is asserting that electronic bingo machines operate like “illegal slot machines”, not a paper card game, specified and defined by the Alabama Supreme Court.

Attorneys were present representing Frontier, Rivers Edge, Bama Bingo and the machine company associated with Palace Bingo. The bingo charities and Sheriff Bennison were also represented by attorneys.

Attorney Hank Sanders, representing the Greene County Health System (GCHS), which receives $67,000 per month in bingo funds to subsidize its operations, was also present. Sanders has filed motions to intervene in the case on behalf of GCHS to protect its interest in the Greene County bingo operation.

Judge Hanes asked Attorney Sanders did he have arguments beyond “the cruelty of closing the bingo facilities because of loss of funding for health care”. Hanes said he was fully aware of the community job losses and revenues that would be lost by government and non-profit organizations by the closing of bingo.

Attorney Sanders said there might also be a violation of health statutes and the American Disabilities Act by closing bingo, based on funding generated for the GCHS including the hospital. The Judge gave Sanders, 30 days to file a motion to intervene in the case on behalf of GCHS and said he would consider the motion.

In response to questions from other attorneys, Judge Hanes asked 
AG Kachelman about “the discovery” he made available to the other parties in the case. Kachelman said he had sent 15 giga-bytes of information on the state’s investigation of electronic bingo, including “under-cover agents, who played the bingo machines”, to all the lawyers and was open to questions but this was the information that his case against the bingo machines would rest upon.

Judge Hanes ruled that he would accept motions and challenges questioning the discovery and asking for other information over the next 60 days, with a 30-day period to respond.

In the course of these discussions, the lawyers raised several other issues. The lawyers said the actions of the Attorney General were “arbitrary and capricious” with regard to gambling in Greene County. The AG is now in charge of licensing sports betting in the state, a multi-million-dollar gambling business. They also pointed out that the AG’s office had reached an agreement with Houston County bingo to remove machines and play only on paper cards, but that the machines have continued in operation in that county, without follow-up enforcement by the AG. The lawyers also said the State of Alabama was doing random tax audits of the electronic bingo establishments, which they felt was unfair during the litigation over the machines.

Kachelman kept coming back to the Alabama Supreme Court decision ruling that electronic bingo was an illegal use of gambling machines and the only legal form of bingo was on paper cards.

Judge Hanes said he would schedule a pre-trial hearing in August on all motions and concerns and a trial date, 60 days thereafter by mid-October 2023. While justice is moving slowly, it is clear that the future of electronic bingo is unclear after this year. However, the trial works out, the other side will likely appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court, which seems to have an immovable position on electronic bingo.

Million Dollar Lawsuit Filed Against DA Michael Jackson of Selma

For Immediate Release: Friday, January 21, 2022

Selma, AL – Attorney Hank Sanders announced today that a million dollar-plus lawsuit had been filed against Michael Jackson in his individual capacity. Jackson is the district attorney for the five-county Fourth Judicial Circuit.

The lawsuit springs from slanderous and libelous statements maliciously made by Jackson in 2021. Jackson falsely accused Attorney Faya Rose Toure of theft, fraud, being crooked, and stealing more money than Jesse James.

Sanders said that a letter was sent in September of 2021 to Jackson demanding he retract the statements. Jackson did not retract the statements and did not respond to the letter. “It makes no sense for someone who is supposed to enforce the law to intentionally and maliciously break the law,” Sanders said.

The situation occurred when Jackson sent a letter to Faya Rose Toure threatening her with criminal action concerning a $200 ad for his wife, Maya Jackson, who was a candidate for Mayor of Selma. Jackson alleged that the ad was not run in the Jubilee newsletter when in fact it had. Faya Rose had not solicited the ad and was no longer the director of the Jubilee as she had retired from her volunteer position as coordinator of the Jubilee. However, the ad had in fact run.

When given a copy of the newspaper with the ad in it, Jackson continued making malicious false statements. He specifically said Faya Rose Toure was a fraud, was crooked, was stealing money, and had stolen more money than Jesse James, all of which are false. He also accused her of forgery and stated that she had created a new newspaper, which she had not. The ad ran in every copy of the Jubilee newspaper.

Jaskson’s statements were on multiple television stations, in the local newspaper, on radio stations, and online. Sanders said, “Elected officials must be held accountable even if they are making malicious statements in their individual capacity rather than their official capacity. Jackson has refused every opportunity to retract his malicious lies. When presented with the truth, he compounded his previous lies with new lies.”

The lawsuit was filed today in Dallas County Circuit Court. The press conference was held at 11:00 a.m. today in the conference room of Chestnut, Sanders & Sanders at 1 Union Street in Selma.

CONTACT: Hank Sanders, (334) 782-1651 and hank23sanders@gmail.com

School board reorganizes; hires high school principal, fails to select new CSFO

Ms. Andrea Perry
Kashaya Cockrell, Vice President and Dr. Carol Zippert, Board President

The Greene County Board of Education met in its regular session, Monday, November 15, 2021 with four board members present. Mrs. Veronica Richardson was absent due to family emergency. Since November is the appointed time to reorganize, selecting board officers and meeting logistics, the board carried out it duties in this regard. With board counsel, Attorney Hank Sanders conducting the procedures, Mr. Leo Branch offered a motion to retain the same board officers and Ms. Carrie Dancy seconded. Dr. Carol Zippert and Ms. Kashaya Cockrell were retained as Board President and Vice President respectively with a unanimous decision.
Seemingly, the board will continue to hold its monthly meetings on the third Monday of each month at 4:30 pm.
Among the personnel items was Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones’ recommendation to appoint Ms. Andrea Perry as Principal of Greene County High School. The board gave unanimous approval. Ms. Perry has been serving as interim principal since Nov. 1, 2021.
In a work session held earlier the day of the board meeting, the CSFO applicant finalists were invited to provide additional information to the board members, however, at the following board meeting, action on the CSFO position was tabled. No additional information has been made available.
In a meeting earlier this year, the school board voted to sell the Birdine School property to the Town of Forkland, which had made a request to purchase. The board’s decision was contingent on the State of Alabama conveying the property to the Greene County Board of Education. With that process completed, the board agreed to sell a portion of the Birdine School property, 10.3 acres to the Town of Forkland by Warranty Deed for the sum of $2,000 per acre or a total sum of $20,600.
In his report, Superintendent Jones stated that the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) held a two-day review in the Greene County School System which resulted in five recommendations as follows: 1. Provide Professional Development to employees and students on the grievance process. 2. Convert one of the restrooms at the GCBOE to an unisex bathroom to accommodate a handicap accessible stall. 3. Raise the handicap signage to 6′ at the GCBOE. 4. Make a handicap accessible van parking at GCCC. If the recommendations (opportunities) are completed within 30 days, the district report will be free of citations. 5. Hard copy of Parent & Student Information Guide (provided onsite). It had been 28 years since OCR made a site visit to Greene County Schools.
In his maintenance update, Superintendent Jones reported that the sewer pump needed replacing at Greene County High. The estimated cost is $11,000 – $15,000. New doors for the Central Office have not arrived yet. Other repairs at the Central Office are completed, except for the final walk through by contractor and state officials.
Dr. Jones also gave an update on the Comer Capital Group that is working with the board on refinancing bonds relative to the Greene County High School. He stated that Comer Capital is soliciting underwriters which will be compiled and submitted to the board for final selection.
Other personnel items approved by the board included the following:
Employment – Wanda Gaitor, from 9 month employee to 10 month employee, secretary at Greene County High School; Anthony Atkins as custodian at Greene County Board.
Family Medical Leave – Montoya Binion, from August 10 to Nov. 1, 2021; Gloria McGhee, from Nov. 29 to Jan. 17, 2022.
Supplemental Contract – Cyonti Lewis as assistant girls basketball coach at Robert Brown Middle School.
Rescind – Supplemental contract for Elroy Skinner as assistant girls basketball coach for 2021-2022.
Other administrative items approved by the board included the following:
* Payment of all bills, claims and payroll.
* Memorandum of understanding between Greene County School board and West Alabama Mental Health Center.
* Increase girls basketball coach supplement to $3,200.

Alabama Coronavirus vaccinations: great demand – limited supplies; ALDPH urges patience

Attorney Hank Sanders shown getting the vaccine in Selma.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ALDPH) says it has not received enough doses of the coronavirus vaccine to serve the 325,000 frontline health workers in the state, much less the over 300,000 people in the age group over 75, teachers and other essential workers who are in the next group scheduled to be vaccinated.
The ALDPH has asked people in the State of Alabama to be patient as it seeks to increase its delivery of vaccines and their distribution around the state.
In a January 9th press release the ALDPH said “As of January 18th, the Health Department will offer vaccinations to the population ages 75 and over. You may call 1-855-566-5333 from 8:00AM to 5:00PM, seven days a week to schedule an appointment.”
Three days later ALDPH issued a press release saying over 1.1 million people in the state had called the number, most without reaching anyone to schedule their appointment. Later ALDPH warned that calling hospitals directly to inquire about vaccinations was tying up phone lines needed for emergency calls.
Several persons connected with the Greene County Health System Board of Directors report calling the toll-free line numerous times without success. Most received a busy signal or a voicemail which records their interest in a vaccination but there has been no call back with an appointment for vaccination.
A GCHS staff member who did receive their first vaccination shot was having trouble reaching the ALDPH to schedule their second shot which is due soon.
Dr. Pugh, CEO and Administrator of the Greene County Health System says, “I have been working to secure vaccines for our facility to be able to vaccine various priority groups. The best information so far is that we will get supplies of vaccine by the end of January. We have had some of our medical and support staff vaccinated at the Health Department. We do not have a date yet for the vaccination of the nursing home residents and other vulnerable groups, who are on the priority list for vaccination.”
John Zippert, Chair of the GCHS Board of Directors says, “The muddled vaccine delivery and distribution problems in Alabama arise from the failure of the national administration in Washington to develop a national plan for coronavirus vaccination and to provide the resources to implement the plan. We may have to wait until after the Biden-Harris Inauguration, to have people take charge who are concerned and really want to stop this damaging pandemic. In the meantime, I guess we are forced to accept the Alabama Department of Public Health’s prescription of patience.”
“We have so many people desperately seeking the vaccination when the state of Alabama is having difficulties getting us a supply of vaccine,”. said Dr. Pugh.
The problems of vaccine distribution come with a backdrop of increasing and record numbers of confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths attributable to the coronavirus in Greene County, Alabama and the nation

Coronavirus keeps school system in virtual mode Superintendent Jones provides academic updates through curriculum coordinator

The Greene County Board of Education held its December 21, 2020 meeting virtually, due to the rise in COVID-19 positive cases in the county. In his report to the board, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones stated that the rate of cases for Greene County was above 33%. He noted that the safe rate to consider returning to school facilities is 5%. “ With these statistics, there is no way we can move from the Phase I approach in our academic program,” he said.
According to Dr. Jones, 14 school employees have tested positive for the coronavirus since the opening of school with 37 having to be quarantined. “At this time we have 16 employees currently in quarantine,” he stated. Jones explained that, fortunately, teachers who were in quarantine were able to conduct their virtual classes from home without taking leave days. “We try our best to be compassionate during these difficult times,” he said. Superintendent Jones presented the system’s Curriculum Coordinator Consultant, Ms. Malysa Chandler, who gave an update of her role with the instructional staff. Ms Chandler noted that her work with the Greene County School System began last school year at Robert Brown Middle School, however, her work this year has extended across the system. According to Chandler, a major component of her role has been to assist in the development of a curriculum map and pacing guide for the system. She also assists teachers with lesson plans, suggesting various activities to enhance student engagement. “I actually observe the virtual classrooms of teachers, and Greene County has some awesome teachers,” she stated.Chandler reported that there are classes with excessive student failures and, working with school leaders, small recovery groups have been organized to assist those students. “The students who have participated in the recovery groups have shown significant improvement,” she stated.
According to Chandler, virtual team meetings will begin in January in an effort to link middle school and high school curriculum, including a designed component for the infusion of Black History across the curriculum.
Chandler noted that she is also prepared to assist teachers who have not satisfied the practice exams. “I would like to have input in the district’s Continuing Improvement Plan,” she said.
In other business, the board approved the following personnel items recommended by the superintendent.
Employment: Jamara Wright, School District Special Education Coordinator; LaTonya Taylor, Special Needs Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School; Jessica Lake, from CNP Department to full time custodian at Robert Brown Middle School, effective January 2021; Carl Oliver from Maintenance Aid/Custodian to Lead Maintenance; Sarah Wallace, Substitute History Teacher, Greene County High School.
Retirement: Samuel Newton, Janitor, Eutaw Primary School effective January 1, 2021; Alfonzo Noland, Maintenance Department, effective January 1, 2021.
FMLA Employee Leave: Tyler Mitchell, History Teacher, Greene County High School from October 12, 2020 – TBD, due to child’s daycare being closed during this time.
The board approved the following administrative items:
Drug Testing and Screening Agreement between Greene County Board and Safety-First Behavioral Health System, Inc.
HVAC Program Agreement between Greene County Board and Wallace State Community College.
Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.
Following Attorney Hank Sanders report, the board approved a resolution which sets out the completion of the sale of the former Mt. Hebron Pre-School property to the non-profit organization, SCORE. Attorney Sanders also noted that the former Birdine School property, which is still under state ownership, is now in the process of being transferred to the Greene County School Board and will become available for the board to take further action. The Greene County Board of Education agreed to pay all full time active employees a one-time supplement of $500 each and all part-time employees a one-time supplement of $250 each in the pay period for December. These one-time supplements are for additional services provided during the 2020-2021 school year based on the COVID-19 Pandemic.

SOS National Day of Prayer Caravan holds prayer at Governor’s Mansion

Prayers of protest leaders to Expand Medicaid, Increase Testing and Save Lives
Montgomery, AL – The Save OurSelves Movement for Justice and Democracy held a caravan on May 7, 2020 with numerous cars circling the Alabama Governor’s Mansion downtown to urge Governor Ivey and others to expand Medicaid, save rural hospitals and focus COVID-19 resources to those most in need. After circling the Governor’s Mansion in downtown Montgomery, instead of the usual press conference, leaders held a prayer conference. Leaders were asked to take one minute or less to address their issues in uplifted prayer.
Attorney Hank Sanders said: “I pray that God will open the minds and hearts of Governor Ivey and other Alabama leaders so that they will immediately implement the expansion of Medicaid and will focus the pandemic resources to those most in need. I pray that God will strengthen the hand of the Governor so with a stroke of the pen she will expand Medicaid. I pray that those who are protesting to open up Alabama economically will also pray that the Governor will open Medicaid expansion in our state.”
World Conference of Mayors Founder Johnny Ford said: “I pray that our national leaders will do whatever it takes to limit the deaths and number of people who are getting the coronavirus. I pray that they will open back up the window for Medicaid coverage so people who now qualify can become covered.”
Civil Rights Advocate Attorney Faya Toure said: “I pray that people whose workplaces are too dangerous will not be forced to work and they will be able to get unemployment benefits if they choose not to work as a result of unsafe work environments. They should not have to choose between work with the possibility of death and survival – both physically and economically.”
Chair of the Greene County Health System, John Zippert, said: “I prevail upon state leaders to save rural hospitals, not only during this pandemic but also from now on. Rural hospitals must be strengthened economically, staff wise and in every way so they can keep serving the people of rural Alabama and other areas.”
Community Advocate Karen Jones said: “I pray the state will truly embrace testing and tracing, so that everyone who wants to get tested can do so without cost and so that people will know when they have come in contact with someone who has tested positive. I pray this because for Alabama to safely open, we must have available testing and tracing for all.
Law Professor Emerita Martha Morgan said: “I prevail upon the leaders of Alabama not to forget those in jails and prisons. I ask that their hearts will be touched in a way that they will let those who are not dangerous to the public out of prisons and jails and those who are in jails but have not been convicted out while they are pending trial. I ask that prison and jail sentences will not be death sentences because of COVID-19 as both prisons and jails have become hotspots for the virus. I urge our leaders act to save lives.”
During the SOS National Day of Prayer Caravan and Prayer Conference at the Governor’s Mansion in Montgomery, black and white balloons were again tied to the cars in the caravan and released at the end of the prayer conference in recognition of the lives lost and the lives in jeopardy in Alabama right now.
For more information, contact the SOS Movement for Justice and Democracy website and Facebook page.

School board holds virtual meeting, superintendent gives update on academics and food distribution

The Greene County Board of Education held a virtual meeting, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, on Monday, April 20, 2020. Board members Carol Zippert, Kashaya Cockrell, Carrie Dancy, Leo Branch and William Morgan were participants including Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, Attorney Hank Sanders, CSFO LaVonda Blair and central office staff, Sara Hall and Makane Morrow.
The board minutes of February 18 and the emergency meeting on March 19 were approved with necessary corrections.
A key element of Superintendent Jones’ report was an update on the various school activities affected by COVID-19. Dr. Jones reported that the Child Nutrition Program (CNP) staff continues to prepare meals for pick-up. He noted that the maintenance department, administrators, central office staff and other volunteers have been of great assistance to the CNP staff.
Meals pick-up have been limited to once per week as a safety measure for staff and community, however, the school system continues to provide the same number of meals per week per child. The superintendent stated that between March 23 and April 17, 38,534 meals were delivered.
According to Dr. Jones, educational packets are delivered to each student with some students getting the lessons electronically and others, not having devices and internet access, receiving their materials in hard copy. He stated that teachers are instructed to communicate with students on a regular basis and to document all contacts. The superintendent meets virtually each week with his administrative staff.
Jones noted that the school system is in the process of securing additional devices, such as tablets, for students use. “The school system will continue to utilize electronic devices in conducting students educational program, beyond this pandemic crisis,” he said.
The superintendent reported that the maintenance department is still caring for the grounds and equipment. In efforts to keep the school facilities sanitized, mist sprays are used and sanitation stations are set up for classrooms and hallways.
The board approved the following personnel items recommended by the superintendent.
*Family medical leave for Felecia Davis, effective February 28, 2020 – May 25, 2020.
*Retirement of Rosie Davis and Linda Underwood, CNP Eutaw Primary School, effective June 1, 2020.
*Supplemental employment of Siegfried Williams, Choir Director, Greene County High School, for 2019-2020 school term.
*Non-Renewals: Sandra Artis, Pre-K teacher, Eutaw Primary School; Chardell Fredd, 7&8th grade teacher, Robert Brown Middle School; and Latausha Tinker-Mitchell, 5th grade science teacher, Robert Brown Middle School.
The board approved the following administrative services recommended by the superintendent.
*Hiring a company to replace roof at central office.
*Settlement agreement for Special Education Student, Robert Brown Middle School.
*Greene County Board of Education Organizational Chart.
*Greene County Schools Calendar for 2020-2021 School year.
*Budget Amendments.
*Payment of bills, claims and payroll.
The CSFO LaVonda Blair presented the financial reports for January and February. The financial snapshot for January included the following: General Fund Balance totaled $2,853,365.21 (reconciles with the Summary Cash Report); Check Register Accountability Report – $271,840.76 (total checks written for the period); Payroll Register – $841,714.73; Combined Fund Balance – $5,244,001.59. Local revenue totaled $2,094,621.60 (December and January).
Financial snapshot for February included the following: General Fund Balance totaled $2,630,649.43 (reconciles with Summary Cash Report); Check Register Accountability Report – $293,831.01 ( total checks written for the period); Payroll Register – $841,864.72; Combined Fund Balance – $5,171,697.17. Local revenue totaled $169,259.01.
CSFO Blair noted that the system is experiencing a delay in revenue stream, a decrease in sales tax and a stoppage in bingo income. She stated that all full time staff will continue to be paid and bills are paid on a timely basis. Blair noted that the budget adjustment before the board relate to $145,000 carryover in Title I and new revenue in various grants.
Attorney Hank Sanders reported generally on various legal matters pending before the board, indicating that several hearing dates have been extended due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The board approved hiring Attorney Robert Turner, Jr. to represent Superintendent Jones at the scheduled hearing for Joe N. Webb.

Greene County Commission and Sheriff Benison reach temporary solution on support for 11 additional employees

The Greene County Commission and Sheriff Jonathan Benison have reached a temporary solution regarding the suspended pay for the 11 additional employees in the sheriff’s department.
Immediately following the Greene County Commission’s work session on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, Commission Chairperson Allen Turner, Jr. and Commissioner Roshanda Summerville met with Sheriff Benison to discuss the funds needed for the 11 employees from the Sheriff’s department and other requirements. Attorney Hank Sanders advised Chairperson Turner, mainly by telephone.
As the commissioners and the sheriff deliberated, the session did get heated. Emotions were high. They could be heard by those waiting outside the conference room.
According to an earlier signed agreement between the commission and the sheriff, additional bingo funds from the sheriff would be provided to the county to support the additional 11 employees the sheriff wanted for his department and other requirements. To that date, no additional funds from the sheriff for this purpose had been provided to the commission during this fiscal year which began Oct. 1, 2020.
For the first three months of the fiscal year, the commission transferred funds from other line items of the Sheriff’s department budget to support his additional employees. According to commission records, the sheriff’s county budget does not have funds for any additional transfers. Approximately $153,000 was necessary to meet the payroll of the 11 employees plus overtime and other requirements due for January.
According to the county commission’s records, at the Feb. 5 meeting, the sheriff offered the county a partial payment of $26,666. The commissioners responded that this was unacceptable and following more discussions, the Sheriff added another payment of $18,342 and assured the commission that the balance to make up the $153,000 would be given to the county by Friday, Feb. 7.
The commission, seemingly trusting the Sheriff, released the payroll to the 11 employees, many of whom had gathered awaiting the solution from this session. At the close of business day on Friday, Feb. 7, the county had not received any more bingo funds from the sheriff.
On Monday afternoon, Feb. 10, the county commission received two separate payments from the sheriff’s bingo funds, one for $43,042.56 and one for $32,832,18. Minutes before the commission’s monthly meeting was to begin that evening, the sheriff delivered the final payment of $32,333.26, satisfying the $153,215.44 needed for the suspended January payroll and other requirements. However, this will not cover payroll for the sheriff’s additional 11 employees for the month of February and beyond.
There remain concerns that this same situation is going to repeat itself.

School board re-elects Branch as President and Zippert as Vice President

At its annual re-organizational meeting held, Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, the Greene County Board of Education elected the same officers to serve for the next year: Mr. Leo Branch as President and Dr. Carol P. Zippert as Vice President. The election of board officers was conducted by Attorney Hank Sanders who explained that the officers could be selected through the nomination process or by a motion and second. The latter was selected and the motion to re-elect the current officers was made by board member William Morgan, with a second by board member Carol Zippert. The motion passed on a vote of 3 to 1. Only four of the five school board members were present. The board agreed to maintain its same meeting schedule: Third Monday of each month at 4:30 pm. In his report to the board, Superintendent James Carter announced that the State Department of Education will be conducting a Comprehensive Review of the Greene County School System, which will include a review of all programs. This is a federally mandated review that is routinely conducted of all school systems within a three to five year schedule. The team from the state will review policies, visit classrooms, conduct interviews with administrators, teachers, and other school personnel, students and parents. The Comprehensive Review will be conducted November 26-30, 2018. Dr. Carter also reported that the Greene County School System is one of the first in the state to include a coding program for students. This will enable students to create various robotic instruments and components as well as develop systems by the time they are ready to graduate. In other business, the board approved the following personnel items: Resignations of Cardelia Paige as 5th Grade Teacher at Robert Brown Middle School and Cassandra Burton as Math Teacher at Greene County High School. Employment: Ann Spree as Math Tutor at Greene County High; Elroy Skinner as Math Teacher at Greene County High; and Jacqueline Carter as 5th Grade Teacher at Robert Brown Middle School.

The board approved the following Administrative Services recommended by the superintendent: * Request approval to survey and appraise Birdine School property. * Request approval for Makane Morrow to travel to Howard Computer Technology in Mississippi. * Approval of Contract with West Central Official Association of York, Alabama for Girls Basketball Officials during the 2018 -2019 school term. * Approval of Contract with West Central Official Association of York, Alabama for Boys Basketball Officials during the 2018 -2019 school term. * Request approval of field trip for Debate Team to travel to Kennesaw State University to compete in a 2-day event, March 2019. * Request approval of field trip, for Debate Team, to travel to Mississippi State University, to compete in a 2-day event February 2019. * Approval of Bid for fuel from Pruett Oil Company for Department of Transportation. * Approval of 2.5 % raise for LaVonda Blair, CSFO. * Approval to pay cost of T-Mobile connectivity for students in Greene County School District. Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll. The meeting adjourned with no comments from the public.