County BOE discusses empty school buildings
by Briana Webster
Jul 02, 2014 | 3363 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Walker County Board of Education heard from Dora Mayor Randy Stephens about the city obtaining the empty T.S. Boyd school building during Monday’s called meeting.

Since the closing of Boyd, Sipsey and Parrish High schools, the board and Superintendent Jason Adkins have postponed making any decisions about the future of the empty buildings until they heard from the cities’ leaders. In previous meetings, Adkins announced the interest that Dora and Yerkwood had in using the Boyd school building, but he had yet to receive any feedback from the towns of Sipsey or Parrish at that time.

“We are, of course, sad to see the school close in our community, but yet we see a dozen opportunities for great use of that building. We have already been approached by many, many people who have plans and dreams and hopes [for that building],” Stephens said. “We would love to have the opportunity to take that building and go on and use it for the community. We have many suggestions and many people willing to work, and we would like for y’all to consider, if you would, turning that over to the city of Dora and continue to use it for the community.” 

Questions were raised by board members about the legalities of handing the building over to the city and who would be in charge of overseeing the building to make sure it’s taken care of.

Adkins said first they would need to check and make certain that the property belongs to the board of education, which could be deeded to the board if not.

He then mentioned that Stephens explained that a governing committee would be formed to be in charge of supervising the building.

Stephens said members of the Dora City Council, including himself, would choose five individuals to serve on the governing board, but he also added that “just because people may not serve on the governing board, we will still need people to help and be a part of the watch and help committees. There’s plenty of work for everybody that wants to be involved.” 

He also made the board aware about a few break-ins that have unfortunately occurred at the school since its closing.

“We’ve got to maintain the building to keep the vandalism down, and we’re doing all we can,” Stephens said. “I’m activating a community watch group to help watch the school as well as a new security system in the police department to help maintain that building.”

Adkins said he planned to speak with Parrish Mayor Cedric Ramsey and two council members Tuesday and Sipsey Mayor Belinda McCain today to discuss similar matters involving their respective town’s school buildings.

Adkins made the recommendation asking the board for permission to move forward with any legal work that needs to be handled and informed Stephens that the cities would be responsible for paying the incurred costs of all legal paperwork.

In other business, board members: 

•accepted the financial statement and bank reconciliation for May 2014.

•approved all personnel lists, including the regular, professional, support and correction lists.

•approved Charles R. Cordell as a non-faculty volunteer softball coach at Curry Middle School.

•approved Dora High School’s 9-12 cheer squad to attend cheer camp at the University of West Georgia from July 10-12.

•approved the HeadStart 2013-2014 self-assessment and program information reports and the 2014-2015 HeadStart budget, quality improvement and T/Ta plans.

•approved bids for CNP equipment purchase.

•were introduced to the 2014-2015 salary schedule, which will be viewed and voted on during the next board meeting scheduled for July 10 at 4:30 p.m.

•heard from Adkins about the possibility of moving the agriscience building at Parrish High School to either Oakman or Dora.

“The first situation that came about was to talk about moving it to Oakman; there’s also some talk about moving it to Dora for an ag building, but I don’t know if that’s feasible at this time ... We’re on a timeframe with getting that program up and going [at Dora], and this is the third year,” Adkins said. “Dora’s is a fledgling program, and there are certain requirements that you have to meet within three years. We’re right at the precipice of that deadline, and we have to come through with that this summer.

“... Initially, I was hoping to move that to Oakman. Some community people had come to talk about it, and I said I was all for that, but then the board and community people that were responsible for that building going from Drummond and being donated to the Walker County School System, their only request was that it be used for student purposes,” Adkins continued to say. “But, they’re kind of wanting it as an ag department. Chris McCullar (director at the Walker County Center of Technology) has cast his eye upon it and thinks it might be a solution to our dilemma with losing the ag department at Dora, and we just can’t afford to lose that agriscience department. We’ve got to get that taken care of this summer. That’s on railroad property; it’s got to be moved. I kind of feel like if it doesn’t go to Dora, it’ll go to Oakman because Parrish kids are going to Oakman, and that’s the reason that I want it to go there in the first place.”