Students from after-school enrichment project present Christmas program at school board gathering

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Prior to the opening of its regular meeting on December 18, 2017, the Greene County Board of Education, along with a community gathering, was entertained with a special Christmas presentation by students enrolled in the after school programs of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers. Students from Eutaw Primary School and Robert Brown Middle School presented dance ensembles, poetry and Christmas Caroling. The event culminated with the lighting of the Christmas tree and the appearance of a jolly “Santa.” The students were presented gifts and refreshments.

In his monthly report, Superintendent James Carter emphasized the system’s continuing goal of improving academic performance for all students. “School principals and teachers must be held accountable for closing the achievement gap. Our focus must shift now on recruiting and retaining talented principals and teachers, a task that is very challenging,” he stated.
Dr. Carter explained that if we are to improve academic performance for all students, there must be a shift in how we teach our students. “School classrooms must be re-designed to meet the needs of students in the 21st Century. We can’t continue to place students in classrooms where all they see is the back of another student’s head. Each school must create a team of leaders to manage instructional programs,” he said.
In his update on the system’s school property, Carter announced that, to date, he has received five offers on the purchase of the former Carver School and two offers on the former Paramount School.
In other business, the board approved the following personnel items recommended by the superintendent.
* Resignation of Rebecca Coleman from the 21st Century Community Learning Center.
* Employment of Dorothy Powell, Jacqueline and Latasha Harris as Bus Aides.
* Employment of Latoya Consentine as substitute bus driver.
* Additional service contract at Robert Brown Middle School for 2017-18 academic year (separate contracts): Janice Jeames as Assistant Girls Basketball Coach.
* Additional service contract at Greene County High for academic year 2017-18 (separate contract) Jason Booth as Assistant Baseball Coach; Fentress Means as Assistant Basketball Coach.
Administrative services approved by the board include the following.
*Worthless Check Policy;
* Uncollectiable Meal Charge Policy.
* Field Trip requests: Greene County High to Dollywood, TN, April 20, 2018; Robert Brown Middle to National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, TN; Robber Brown Middle to Education Day at Six Flags Over Georgia, April 27, 2018.
The following instructional items were approved by the board.
* Voluntary Religious Expression Policy
* 21st Century Community Learning Centers Staff Handbook
* 21st Century Community Learning Centers Parent Handbook.

Eutaw City Council discusses abatement of taxes for truck stop

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Shown above Chief Derick Coleman with two new officers Khadijah Williams and Bryant Snyder.

The Eutaw City Council met twice in November for its regular meetings on November 14 and 28, 2017.
Mayor Steele explained that he has been meeting with representatives of Loves Truckstop about constructing a major truckstop at the Interstate 20 and 59 exit for Eutaw, at the 40 mile-marker. “At first we were talking about 87 spaces for trucks, then it went up to 168 and now we are talking about 200 parking spots for trucks and other privately owed vehicles.
The truck stop will sell gas and related products, have a convenience store and two fast food franchise locations in the store.

The truck stop will operate 24 hours a day and employ as many as 40 people,” said Mayor Steele.
The City Council will need to consider giving the truckstop owners an abatement of one cent of the gasoline taxes as an incentive to locate in the city. The abatement generally lasts for a period of time and goes up to a certain dollar amount whichever is reached first. Mayor Steele said that he was still negotiating the details of the tax incentive agreement and would bring it up for a vote when the full proposal was ready but he wanted to alert the City Council of this development. The City Council approved applying for a TAP grant to the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) for $800,000 with $180,000 in matching funds, which can be cash or in-kind services, to replace the sidewalks in the downtown area, put up decorative lighting, put up a railing along the edge of the sidewalk and plant trees and shrubs. The motion was approved. Councilwoman Sheila Smith voted against the proposal.
In other actions, the Eutaw City Council:
• re-named a street in honor of Ms. Johnnie E. Williams;
• approved making a proposal by the City of Eutaw to purchase Carver Middle School buildings for $215,000 from the Greene County Board of Education, to turn the facility into an afterschool park and recreation site for youth and adults;
• paid bills and claims for the months of October and November;
• holding one City Council meeting for the next month on Monday, December 18, 2017;
• approved two new police officers, Bryant Snyder and Khadijah Williams, who will be attending the police academy next month for training and certification.

Bingo entities distribute $367,155 for October with $39,375 for Greene County Health System  

 

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Shown above:  Eutaw Mayor Raymond Steele,  Greene County Board of Education, CSFO  Katrina Sewell,  Bingo Clerks Minnie Byrd and Emma Jackson,  Sheriff Jonathan Benison, Shirley Edwards Greene County Hospital Board member, Brenda Burke representing the County Commission, Forkland Mayor Charles McAlpine, and  Boligee Councilwoman Ernestine Wade

On Monday, November 20, 2017, Greene County Sheriff Department distributed $367,155 in monthly bingo allocations from the five licensed gaming operations in the county. The recipients of the monthly distributions from bingo gaming designated by Sheriff Benison in his Bingo Rules and Regulations include the Greene County Commission, the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).
This was the first distribution of electronic bingo funds since the Sheriff amended Section 4 of the rules to provide a payment of $25.00 per machine, per month, to the Greene County Health System. This generated a payment of $39,375 from four of the five electronic bingo establishments in Greene County. Greenetrack has not as yet paid its $25 dollar per machine assessment to the Greene County Health System.
“We are pleased to receive this $39,375 towards provision of health care at our hospital, nursing home and physicians clinic in Greene County. This will help us to cover our financial deficits incurred to offer health care to those who cannot fully pay for their care because they are poor and cannot afford adequate insurance,’ said Rosemarie Edwards one the GCHS Board of Directors.
The following assessments are for the month of October 2017.
Greenetrack, Inc. gave a total of $60,000 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500.  Greenetrack did not include an amount for the Greene County Hospital.
Green Charity (Center for Rural Family Development) gave a total of $67,500 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, the Greene County Health System, $7,500.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $67,500 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, Greene County Health System, $7,500.

River’s Edge (NNL – Next Level Leaders and TCCTP – Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $72,825 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, and the Greene County Health System, $12,825.
Palace (Tommy Summerville Police Support League) gave a total of $99,330 to the following: Greene County Commission, $4,620; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $36,960; City of Eutaw, $27,720; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $4,620; Greene County Board of Education, $4,620 and the Greene County Health System, $11,550.

School board selects personnel for 21st Century Community Learning Centers

At a called meeting held Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, the Greene County Board of Education approved personnel recommended by Superintendent James Carter for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) at Eutaw Primary School and Robert Brown Middle School. The two schools have been approved for a total of $300,000 funding each year for three years for the extended day programs scheduled to begin Monday, Nov. 6, 2017.
Dr. Shayla McCray, At Risk Coordinator for the Greene County School System, will serve as overall director of the project. Teachers include Keisha Williams, Charlease Smith, Lester Cox, Felicia Smith, Raven Bryant, Janice Jeams, Rebecca Coleman, Miakka Taylor, Shunetta Kirkman, and Tamecisha Abrams. Assistant teachers include Tweila Morris and Rachael Nickson. According to Dr. Carter, the personnel may be adjusted depending on the number of students participating in the programs.
The after school programs will operate approximately 2 hours after school hours at each school facility, serving up to 100 students with a focus on STEAM, Language arts, recreational skills, entrepreneurial education, nutrition and health, counseling and expanded library access.The project also includes a parental involvement and family literacy component; anti-bullying, drug and violence prevention.

Town of Union constructs first community storm shelter

L to R: Town Council members Helen Sanford, Louise Harkness, Gene Colvin and Mayor James Gaines; Town Council members Rosie Davis and Alonzo Thompson.

The Town of Union, Greene County, cut the ribbon on its completed storm shelter at a special program held Tuesday, October 17, 2017 on the town’s municipal complex. Mayor James Gaines and the Town Council welcomed the residents and friends who gathered to witness the grand event.
“This is truly a great moment for us. We got passed over the first time the Town of Union was designated to receive funds for our community storm shelter, so we took matters into our own hands and not only made plans to construct the shelter, but we carried it out those plans,” Mayor Gaines stated.

“ We are proud of ourselves and very appreciative of those who did assist us,” he said.
According to Ms. Marilyn Sanford, town clerk, “It took just about one year to complete our project, from the time the specs were let in October 2016 to this grand occasion in 2017.”
At a cost of approximately $83, 000, coming from Bingo resources, the Union Storm Shelter is 48 ft. in length, 10 ft. Wide and 8ft. in height. The structure is designed to hold about 100 individuals, but can really contain many more.
Mayor Gaines and the Town Council emphasized that the Union Storm Shelter is not just for the Union community. “This shelter will be open to all who are in need of a safe haven when a severe storm hits. We will not turn away anyone,” they stated.
Greene County officials attending the ceremony included County Commissioners Lester Brown, Tennyson Smith and Allen Turner; Greene County Sheriff Jonathan Benison; Hodges Smith, President of the Association of VFD; Iris Sermon, Director of E911; Boligee Town Council Member Teresa Mack; Kinya Turner represented Forkland Mayor Charlie McCalpine; and Carol Zippert, Vice-President, Greene County Board of Education.

West Alabama Works holds meeting to open AIDT Training Trailer at Greene Co. High School

JOB  Fair.jpgOver 150 mostly young people attended Tuesday night’s kick-off meeting for the AIDT Training Trailer, located at 14223 U. Highway 11 South, in front of the Greene County High School.
People were present to register and sign-up for classes and training to prepare for work in Greene County and surrounding counties in the West Alabama Black Belt.

Classes will be provided for Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN) for entry-level work in the healthcare field. Classes will also be available for GED studies leading to a high school equivalency; Ready To Work training and certification in “work keys” which will lead to employment in the growing Alabama automotive industry; computer skills and other skill areas.
Donny Jones, Chief Operating Officer for the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce and Director of West Alabama Works, said the AIDT Training Trailer will be in Greene County for the next three months, “to provide free testing and training for local residents who are willing to commit their time to acquire new skills and certification. At the end of this process, there are real jobs in the area but employers want to know if you have the skills and attitudes to fill and keep these jobs.”
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime and the chance to transform families and change communities. We are building a career connect system to provide you the entry level skills and credentials you need to work in the future business and industry” said Jones.
Jones explained that the Ready to Work program provides soft skills for people, interested in working in Alabama. These soft skills include team building, attitudes toward coming to work consistently and on-time, safety including avoiding drugs and alcohol on the job, basic math, precision measurement and other skills. People who faithfully attend this five-week program receive certification that they can present to employers when seeking a job.
The CNA training for the healthcare field will be an eight-week training leading to basic certification to work in nursing homes, hospitals and other health care facilities.
Persons attending the kick-off were able to register with West Alabama Works about their interest in training. They will be called back for more in depth testing and a recommended training curriculum to meet their specific needs. Persons who missed the kick-off can still register at: http://www.westalabamaworks.org or come by the AIDT trailer on Highway 11 at the Greene County High School.
The Region 3 Workforce Development Council, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, formed West Alabama Works to lead workforce development efforts throughout West Alabama. The regional workforce development system facilitates and implements a comprehensive, coordinated, seamless workforce development system for the region and supports workforce training activities
In the development of this mobile training unit, West Alabama Works is partnering with the University of West Alabama, Greene County Industrial Development Authority, Greene County Board of Education, Greene County Commission, Shelton State Community College, and AIDT to meet community needs. As Gary Nichols, Chairman of the West Alabama Works Steering Committee notes, “This will help individuals in the region prepare for new and existing job opportunities. We’re here to generate meaningful results.”

Superintendent Carter updates board on school initiatives

In the recent meeting of the Greene County Board of Education, held Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, Superintendent James H. Carter, Sr. reported on the following initiatives in the school system.
*The Backpack Meal Program has been implemented at Eutaw Primary as a pilot this year. This program is a partnership between the Greene County School Board and the Tuscaloosa Food Bank
*Greene County High School will begin producing a Greene County High newspaper this fall.
* STEAM program this year will provide students an opportunity to show their skills in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. Each program will have a Robotics Component. STEAM is not just about providing access to resources or programs; it is about providing quality teaching and learning experiences to students – how much is needed in a curriculum to ensure students are career and college ready.
*The school system has been approved for a grant in the amount of $15,000 for the At-Risk Program, Launching Excellence and Achievement Project.
*The system will develop a social media lounge for teachers and students to go on Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat to express their support for public schools; develop a College and Career Ready Room for students to apply for colleges and universities; also to provide students the opportunities to apply for financial aid and scholarships.
*The system will implement an action plan to decrease the absentee rate for students and teachers. This plan will address the specific reason why absenteeism is more problematic in some schools versus others.
*The system will pursue T-Mobile to give hotspots to students who do not have internet access at home.
*Congratulations to Robert Brown Middle School on the very innovative concept of going out to visit the school community, instead of community visiting the school.

In other business the board approved the following personnel items recommended by Superintendent Carter.
* Employment: Carl Oliver, Part-time Maintenance/ Part-time Custodian, Greene County High School; Employ Additional Resource Officer at Greene County High School; Additional Service contract(s) for the following employees at Robert Brown Middle School for the 2017 – 2018 academic year. (Separate Contract): Corey Cockrell, Head Girls Basketball Coach; Henry Miles, Assistant Girls Basketball Coach:
* Catastrophic Leave: Sadie Moore, Secretary, Eutaw Primary School.
Family Medical Leave: Verna Nickson, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation. * Leave without pay: Siegfried Williams, request leave of absence for every Tuesday in the month, beginning August 22 – December 12, 2017. Total of 17 days. * Travel: Rachel Nickson to travel to Atlanta, GA to attend Save the Children Cluster Meeting on November 14 -17, 2017.
The board approved the following administrative services recommended by the superintendent. First Reading: Student Discipline Implementation Guide; Email Acceptable Use Policy; Travel Policy; Capital Plan 2017-2018; Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll; Bank reconciliations as submitted by Ms. Katrina Sewell, CSFO.
School Board CSFO, Katrina Sewell, presented the following report for September. Total revenue for September was $734,680.56; From the accounts payable register, state funds expended totaled $57,652.40; federal funds expended totaled $92,143.89; local funds expended totaled $321,578.79. Accounts payable totaled $471,285.08. Payroll expenditures for the month totaled $861,819.08. The current fund balance of $3,274,984.27 does not include final expenditures for accounts payable in FY 2017.
Attorney Hank Sanders, in his report to the board, advised that a lawsuit has been recently filed by the Alabama Attorney General against six counties where electronic bingo operates. “If this lawsuit succeeds, the Greene County School System, along with other entities, will lose funds,” Sanders noted. Attorney Sanders also informed the board that a law suit filed by an employee has been settled, but the employee is seeking more.