TALLADEGA -- During the Talladega County Commission work session Wednesday, Vice President of the Liberty Learning Foundation Becky Saunders presented a brief summary of that educational organization and the impact it's had on students in the county school system.

The curriculum emphasizes and introduces the subject of civics to students beginning at the elementary level.

“The Liberty Learning Foundation civics education program is in over 300 school districts statewide,” Saunders said. “The program focuses on teaching second- and fifth-grade students about what it means to be an American citizen.”

The Liberty Learning Foundation has participated with all 10 county elementary schools throughout the current academic year.

“The curriculum is excellent and makes students think about how they fit into their own communities,” Saunders said.

Currently, the curriculum is funded by donations through area businesses and foundations such as ALFA, Regions Bank and Wells Fargo.

According to Saunders, the program costs $36 per student and reaches approximately 1,465 students in Talladega County Schools -- and 375 students in the Sylacauga City school system.

“Schools just aren't given enough time and funding to properly have a civics curriculum,” Saunders said. “As an educator for 16 years, I can say that the Liberty Learning lessons are excellent in covering the subject of government and civics stronger than anything else I’ve been a part of.

“For some reason, civics education in Alabama isn’t usually introduced until the middle school or high school level. We want to help instill a sense of patriotism and pride, beginning at a young age.”

Although Saunders did not list an exact figure, she encouraged the commission to help and to participate in the program.

“I just really hope you will consider partnering with us and reserve a portion of next year’s budget to help,” Saunders said. “We really want our community leaders to have a strong presence in the classrooms.”

Although no official action was taken, members of the commission all praised the foundation and stressed its need in the schools.

In other business the commission:

  • Approved an abatement of property and sales tax for Resolute Forest Products US, Inc. in Childersburg, for the purpose of equipment upgrades;

  • Approved an independent contractor agreement with Bailey’s Bushhogging,  to assist in bush hog and maintenance work for the Road Department;

  • Approved a copier upgrade contract with Kyocera for both the Sheriff’s Office and the Talladega County Jail;

  • Approved five annual software support agreements with Southern Software from Nov. 1, 2016, until Oct. 31, 2017, in the amount of $15,688;

  • Approved a request by Judge Julian King to restore and repair 44 benches in two downstairs courtrooms inside the judicial building -- with the quoted price listed at $350 per bench;

  • Approved a request from the Highway Department regarding a reallocation of original posted positions as approved in the FY17 budget. The total number budgeted will remain at 59 employees;

  • Approved expenditures in the amount of $1,698,980.94;

  • Heard from resident Gary McGrady, who requested needed repairs to the John Henry Pope Bridge on the Fayetteville-Childersburg Highway; and

  • Announced the next meeting will be Monday, Dec. 12, at 6 p.m. inside the commission courtroom.