By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Six members of the Escambia County Board of Education approved last week a long-awaited revised salary schedule and state-mandated October pay raises based upon the revised schedule, as well as the expulsion of a high school student and acceptance of the low bid for demolishing the auditorium at W.S. Neal High School.
District 1’s Kevin Hoomes was unable to attend the August 25 meeting, but his six BOE peers gave a unanimous green light to each of the action items and welcomed the school system’s newest administrator.
Superintendent of Education Michele McClung introduced new assistant superintendent Michele Collier, with whom the superintendent worked when both were part of the Mobile County public school system. Collier is a native of Escambia County and a W.S. Neal graduate.
“She comes to us from the Mobile County Public School System and she has a portfolio of expertise in a lot of areas,” McClung said, listing professional development and training, school improvement, state monitoring, state accreditation, instructional technology, teaching learning and assessment, principal and leadership training and development. “When I worked in Mobile County, she was my right hand for many years, and it’s a pleasure to snag her. I’m tickled pink to have her here.”
McClung added that, “I’ve been getting a few ugly messages from Mobile folks, and she has, too.”
Collier actually began her duties last week, visiting most of the county’s schools, where she was welcomed with open arms.
“It has been a wonderful experience and I’m happy to be here,” she said. “Thank you for the kind welcome. I look forward to working with all of you.”
McClung presented certificates to each of the board members, commemorating each’s completion of the state’s mandatory training hours during the past school term.
BOE members then tackled the “action items” on the meeting agenda.
While awaiting the return of CSFO Rochelle Richardson, who was finalizing board-requested salary information, the six members accepted McClung’s recommendation and voted to expel for one year a W.S. Neal student whose actions forced recent lockdowns at several schools in Brewton and Flomaton.
The expulsion, based on information presented by Sheriff Heath Jackson, will allow the student to continue his or her education through virtual school.
“The student will be expelled but will receive educational services through virtual classes,” McClung said in response to concerns expressed by District 4’s Cindy Jackson. “The student will be issued a laptop and will not be allowed to attend any events at school or step foot on school property.”
When Richardson returned, the board first approved the revised salary schedule, which McClung called a “new and competitive salary schedule” for September 1-30, 2022. The CSFO said the new schedule used a “0-35 scale” that takes into account each employee’s years of experience and the number of days he or she works each year.
Next, the salary schedule for FY 2023 (October 1, 2022, through September 30, 2023) was approved, including a significant increase in the pay bus drivers receive when they take students and teachers on field trips. The former pay rate was $9 for each hour of driving and $7.25 per hour while “sitting.”
Richards proposed, and the board accepted, an increase to $16 per hour for field-trip drivers, providing them with enough to pay a substitute for their regular routes. She told the board that several drivers had opted out of field trips because of the low pay.
After accepting a $126,000 bid from Ingle Demolition Inc. of Mount Olive for demolition of the storm ravaged W.S. Neal auditorium, board members spent several minutes setting the dates and times for upcoming budget hearings (September 12, 10:30 a.m., and September 14, 4:30 p.m.). The hearings are open to the public. They also set their next regular meeting for 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 22.
The following personnel recommendations by Superintendent McClung were approved by the Board.
Leave of absence
Elisabeth Harrison, instructional aide, Turtle Point Science Center, leave of absence, effective August 22, 2022 through December 16, 2022
1. Tawana Jones, English / language arts teacher, Escambia County High School (ECHS), effective August 31, 2022
2. Keyon Thompson, math teacher, ECHS, effective August 24, 2022
3. Latonia Brooks, instructional aide, ECHS, effective August 26, 2022
4 Amber Carpenter, custodian, Pollard McCall Junior High School, effective July 19, 2022
5. Scotty Benton, elementary teacher, Rachel Patterson Elementary School (RPES), effective August 24, 2022
6. Vernice Dailey, special needs bus aide, Atmore Bus Shop, effective August 16, 2022
7. June Kent, temporary /part-time, Special Education Services, Office of Special Education and Student Services, effective May 26, 2022
1. Kara Bradley, accountant, Escambia County Board of Education (ECBOE), effective September 1, 2022
2. Tracy Hudson, school improvement supervisor, (ECBOE), effective September 6, 2022 (replacing Valarie Smith)
3. Maranda Johnson, office aide, ECHS, effective August 26, 2022 (replacing Emily Harrison)
4. Joel Gonzalez, teacher aide, ECHS, effective August 26, 2022
5. Cara Beyette, 6-hour lunchroom worker, RPES, effective September 1, 2022 (replacing Sabrina Dialey)
6. Ashlyn Ward, custodian, W.S. Neal Elementary School (WSNES), effective August 26, 2022 (replacing Kimberly Price)
7. Kelly Mitchell, counselor, WSNES, effective August 23, 2022 (replacing Levon Wright) (amended date)
8. Marty Stringer, parttime gifted education teacher / Specialist, Office of Special Education and Student Services, effective August 29, 2022
9. Preston Hassell, custodian, Escambia Career Readiness Center, effective September 1, 2022 (replacing Sandra Floyd)
1. Tawana Jones, English / language arts teacher, W.S. Neal High School (WSNHS), to English / language arts teacher, ECHS, effective April 18, 2022 (replacing Levon Wright)
1. Kelli Stuckey, business office clerk, ECBOE, Brewton Central Office, to accountant, ECBOE, effective September 1, 2022
2. Andrea Godbolt, central operations clerk, Brewton Central Office, to accountant, ECBOE, effective September 1, 2022
3. Felicia Bishop, office aide, ECHS, to secretary / registrar, ECHS, effective August 26, 2022
4. April Dunsford, office aide, Flomaton Elementary School (FHS), to secretary / registrar, Flomaton Elementary School (FES), effective August 26, 2022
5. Jaye Hagan, office aide, FHS, to secretary / registrar, FHS, effective August 26, 2022
6 Kathleen Allen, office aide, Huxford Elementary School (HES), to secretary / registrar, HES, effective August 26, 2022
7. Melissa Cosey, special education instructional aide, Pollard McCall Junior High School (PMJHS), to elementary teacher, PMJHS, effective August 26, 2022 (replacing Rebecca Green)
8. Jacqueline Gresham, office aide, PMJHS, to secretary/ registrar, PMJHS, effective August 26, 2022
9. Vonda Bynum, office aide, RPES, to secretary/ registrar, RPES, effective August 26, 2022
10. Peggy Nelson, office aide, WSNES, to secretary / registrar, WSNES, effective August 26, 2022
1. Deborah Silcox, temporary / part-time, Special Education Services, Office of Special Education and Student Services, effective August 26, 2022
2. June Kent, temporary / part-time, Special Education Services, Office of Special Education and Student Services, effective August 26, 2022