OXFORD — The city’s Board of Education on Tuesday declared a state of emergency at Oxford Elementary School, allowing the system to skirt state bid law to repair a leaky part of the school’s roof.
Moisture has been detected in the insulation beneath a 40-year-old section of the roof, operations director Eric Burrage told board members during a meeting Tuesday morning. By declaring the emergency, he and Superintendent Jeff Goodwin said, the system could avoid soliciting bids to repair the roof and more quickly get that work done, rather than waiting for summer.
“The longer we wait, the more expensive it will be,” Burrage said of repair.
The state of emergency sounds more serious than it is, Goodwin said after the board’s meeting, but school officials don’t know yet how much patching the 20,000-square foot roof will cost.
Goodwin said he hopes a contractor tasked with examining the roof this week will provide him an estimate by Friday, and expects to call board members to a special meeting soon after.
Board members on Tuesday also got updates on how the system’s curriculum compares to that of others in the state, and its financial standing in the month of January and in the last fiscal year.
Among school systems where a majority of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals — an indicator of poverty in the community a system serves — Oxford had the most students show proficiency across all subjects in ACT Aspire testing done in 2016. That data comes from the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, a nonpartisan group that collects and analyzes data on many aspects of life and government in the state.
Goodwin attributed the results to a “collaborative effort” between the city of Oxford (whose leaders have given over a portion of the sales tax collected in the city’s shopping centers), teachers, students and parents.
“Our kids are the real winners here,” he said, adding that those students “are competing with all districts across the state, regardless of their socioeconomic status.”
The system’s finances might also be the envy of other similarly-sized school districts. During a report on January financial statements, chief school financial officer Robby Jordan told board members that the system’s accounts have been flooded with tax revenue from the Christmas shopping season.
Jordan said the system has nearly four months’ operating costs in reserve, but expects that amount to drop as the fiscal year progresses.
Board members heard about the previous financial year in another briefing, this one from an accountant with MDA Professional Group. The Albertville-based firm audited the system’s accounts, and found them to be in order.
In other business, the board:
— Declared the winner of a Thanksgiving turkey-and-dressing competition to be the lunchroom staff at DeArmanville Elementary School, and praised Oxford High School’s wrestling team for a recent state championship win.
— Approved a trip to Orlando, Fla., for the high school marching band, which is to visit Universal Studios and Disney World March 1-4 and perform in a parade while there.