In the midst of a more than $7 million renovation project and with talk of a new high school not too many years down the road, the New Albany school board is getting two new members, which could affect the direction the district is taking.
Trustee Brad Clayton resigned this past month because he is no longer living in the city school district. Clayton has moved to a home in the Abermar subdivision, which is partly in the New Albany district and partly in the East Union district. In fact, one home there reportedly is split by the district line and Clayton will be living in the East Union section.
This past week the New Albany Board of Aldermen named Mark Garrett to replace Clayton.
At the August school board meeting trustee Sam Creekmore IV also resigned. Creekmore would not be able to hold the post anyway because of his election as District 14 Representative, but his leaving will eventually allow the district to hire family members if they so choose.
No replacement for Creekmore has been named yet but trustee Jill Shaw was elected board chairman to replace Creekmore in that role and she will continue through the rest of his term ending in 2021. Barbara Washington will serve as vice-president and David Rainey as secretary.
A crucial part of the board meeting was a comprehensive update on work at the three schools by construction manager Kelly Howard.
He reported that, through herculean efforts by workers and contractors, all the schools would be ready for students Wednesday. Much work remains to be done, however, with crews using from about 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. instead of daytime for the various tasks.
Howard said the elementary school roof work is actually a couple of weeks ahead of schedule and should be done by the end of August. All the heating and air conditioning units have been replaced on the roof but one 20-ton unit will not be here until November. Some doors were waiting on hardware and painting but the fire alarm system had passed testing.
At the middle school, improvements have been made to ceilings and lighting in some areas and work on a corridor needing as exit done. Heating and cooling units have been replaced there, also, but crews are waiting on new fire doors to arrive. The building did pass fire inspection, however.
“We are not quite as far along as we would like to be at the high school,” he said. Fire alarm testing was delayed because of a wiring fault in the building but the ceiling grid and ductwork has been done and the band room and media center should be cool, he said. The auditorium is a different matter, however.
That heating and cooling unit is not due in until late September and, although it comes in three sections, they will be too large to fit through existing openings. A piece of the wall near the stage will have to be temporarily removed to install the unit, and then replaced.
“We’ve done a lot of work in a few days to get to this point,” Howard said. “It nearly killed the workers but they stepped up and got it done.”
While renovation remains a continuing concern, the trustees received some good financial news.
Superintendent Dr. Lance Evans and Director of Accounting Services Suzanne Coffey reported that the assessed valuation for the city district is up substantially for the year.
This is partly due to new construction, but also to the regular statewide reassessment.
The increase appears to be about nine percent, which means that each mill of tax should bring in about nine percent more revenue.
Evans said it is too late to change the operational budget that was approved but the district can use the anticipated $250,000 to $275,000 for items that had to be cut from the current renovation plans dues to costs.
In an effort to capture that extra money, the plan is to ask for the same millage rather than lower it, and issue a one-year bond for the extra amount to be paid off with the additional revenue at the end of the year.
In personnel matters trustees:
•Approved the resignation of Ellen Frazier, Bus Monitor, Central Office effective July 29,2019.
•Approved the resignation of Helen Sneed, Bus Driver, Central Office effective effective August 2,2019.
•Approved the resignation of Missy Nichols, Bookkeeper, New Albany High School effective August 9,2019.
•Approved the resignation of Tyrone Foote, Assistant Football Coach, New Albany High School.
•Approved hiring Laken McKenzie, Bookkeeper, New Albany High School replacing Missy Nichols.
•Approved hiring Brad Harris, Assistant Football Coach, New Albany High School replacing Tyrone Foote.
•Approved hiring Heather White, Teacher Assistant, New Albany Elementary School replacing Avery Stanfield.
•Approved hiring Kristen Cook, Teacher Assistant, New Albany Elementary School. Salaries and benefits will be paid with IDEA funds. The term of the employment will end at the conclusion of the 2019-2020 school year.
•Approved hiring Jay Cotton, Bus Driver 112 Route to Full Route, Central Office.
•Approved hiring additions to the substitute list.
The next city school board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 29, at 5:30 in the boardroom of the central office. This is a change from the usual meeting date due to the Sept. 2 Labor Day holiday.