That deadline is now set for Sept. 6.
Since an informal proposal by the city to purchase the Anniston Middle School, the board members have been grappling with how to take advantage of the offer in a way that would accomplish system reorganization and most benefit students.
The system has been experiencing declining enrollment for decades, and in the last ten years, the population of the city has migrated north and east. That has created inconsistent enrollment in the elementary schools. The enrollment ranges from 154 at Cobb Elementary, the smallest elementary school to 355 at Tenth Street Elementary, the largest.
For nine months, the members have discussed plans in meetings, requested data and held public hearings to gather more data. But so far, they have been unwilling to take a vote.
The Sept. 6 deadline decided upon at the work session is after the Aug. 28 municipal election, in which all of the board members face opponents.
Tuesday, Superintendent Joan Frazier presented the board with an appraisal of the middle school prepared by local appraiser Kim Kimberly. Board president Mary Harrington asked that Frazier have another appraisal of the property, but other board members expressed frustration with the process.
“We need to make a decision and present them (the city) something,” board member Arthur Cottingham said. “We need to present them something for them to say whether that’s doable or not.”
Board member William Hutchings agreed.
“We need to do something,” Hutchings said. “We just keep talking and we keep talking.”
But board member Bill Robison said the board had to know how much it would cost to make the changes necessary before presenting a plan to the city.
“I think we’ve got to decide what we think is the best academic setting for these kids, decide on that and then ask how much that’s going to cost,” Robison said.
The appraisal of the middle school is meaningless, he said. What the board members need to know is how much the plan is going to cost so they can ask if the city will fund it, Robison said.
Harrington said the superintendent and system finance officer should tell the board members what their recommendations are and what they might cost. But Cottingham argued the board has already been presented with scenarios.
“Are you ready to make a decision?” Cottingham asked the other board members. “I’m ready.”
Robison suggested the board receive those recommendations at the work session following a board meeting on Sept. 6.
“Then let’s fish or cut bait,” Robison said. “We’ll know how much it’ll cost and we’ll send it to the city.”
In other business the board:
- Scheduled board meetings for Aug. 9, Aug. 30 and Sept. 6.
- Approved a contract with Vocational Rehabilitation Services in which both the system and the company would pay half the salary of a job coach at Anniston High School.
- Approved allowing the Freedom Riders Park Board of Directors to use of Anniston High School auditorium for a groundbreaking celebration on Sept. 13.
- Approved the extension of contracts with MasterClene of Alabama and North Eastern Refrigeration. The contracts have been extended twice before and the original bids are three years old.
- Announced the career and technical offerings for the coming school year: cosmetology, electrical technology, finance, family and consumer science, law and public safety, corrections and security, marketing, network system and welding at the high school and business technology applications at the middle school.
- Approved a salary schedule for the 2012-2013 school year with no changes from the previous school year.
Star staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @Lcamper_star