BOE rejects proposed $60K car purchase for superintendent
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Members of the Escambia County Board of Education voted — though not unanimously — during the BOE’s September 22 meeting to spend just under $94,000 for new vehicles to be driven by the school system’s three second-tier administrators but rejected a proposal to spend nearly $60,000 for a new vehicle for Superintendent Michele McClung.
After a lengthy discussion of the need for a new vehicle for the school system’s top administrator, including remarks by Director of Transportation Billy Mills as to the need for vehicles that reflect the status of the driver, the motion came to the floor for a vote.
Board Chairman Coleman Wallace (District 7), District 2’s Danny Benjamin and Mike Edwards (District 3) all voted in favor of the purchase of a 2023 Ford Expedition at a price of $59,958.
Opposing the measure were District 6’s Sherry Digmon, District 5’s Loumeek White, District 4’s Cindy Jackson and District 1’s Kevin Hoomes.
During the pre-vote discussion, White had asked Mills if the board couldn’t get something “a little cheaper,” to which Mills replied that he “could have gotten it a little cheaper, about $5,000 less.” But, he said, “what it would express to everybody that’s around us is, we’ve got our stuff going on.”
The purchase was to have been made from Stivers Ford, off the state bid list. Mills said the vehicle if bought by an individual, would cost “almost $90,000.”
White said he couldn’t vote for the purchase, knowing how badly most of the county’s schools could use money.
“I think we need to stay focused on our principals, what they need,” he said. “There are things they need for their teachers but don’t have, yet we’re talking about spending $60,000 on a vehicle. We could put at least some of that into our educational system so our principals and teachers can have funds to buy some of things they need. I just know we could do better.”
After the vote was tallied, Benjamin asked if the issue could be brought back to the table if a less expensive vehicle can be found.
“We can revisit it,” Wallace assured him.
Prior to that issue, the board agreed by a 5-2 vote to purchase three 2022 Ford Explorer SUVs, one each for Deputy Director of Operations Shaun Goolsby and Assistant Superintendents George Brown and Michele Collier, at a price of $31,308 each.
The superintendent said during discussions of that purchase that the new vehicles were badly needed.
“I expect me and my staff to be in and out of the schools the majority of every week,” McClung said. “We travel from school to school to support our schools, and I know Mr. Goolsby travels all over the county, either looking at property or checking on projects.”
When Benjamin asked if the cars would be used for business only, McClung replied that they would, and Brown said they would be parked on school campuses each night.
Digmon questioned the price of the administrative vehicles.
“I understand this might be a great price for these,” she said. “But can’t we find something less expensive than $31,000 a vehicle?”
After Edwards said he thought it would be “unfair for them to have to wear out their cars,” and Wallace said, “we have a need,” Edwards made a motion that the purchase be approved.
After a silent pause of about 10 seconds, Benjamin finally seconded the motion. Digmon and Jackson voted against the measure, while the remainder of the board voted in favor.
In other business, the board unanimously:
*approved another extension of the Transportation Fuel Bid with Southern Energy Company for diesel and gasoline. The extension was the third time the bid had been extended.
*approved the FY 2023 English as Second Language program.
*approved the FY 2023 Consolidated Plan.
*tabled revision of board policy on Instructional Program 7.11 to include the state-mandated provisions of the Alabama Extended Learning Opportunities Act.
The following personnel recommendations by Superintendent McClung were approved by the Board.
1. Donald Scruggs, construction / masonry instructor, Escambia County High School (ECHS), effective July 26, 2022
2. Bonnie Johnson, custodian, ECHS, effective September 12, 2022
3. James Burnham, custodian, Flomaton High School (FHS), effective September 23, 2022
4. Sherry Atkins, 7-hour lunchroom worker, Pollard McCall Junior High School (PMJHS), effective September 14, 2022
5. Quaunhntel Hill, custodian, Rachel Patterson Elementary School (RPES), effective September 16, 2022
6. Sandra Forbes, elementary teacher, RPES, effective September 23, 2022
7. Amanda Crowder Flowers, elementary teacher, RPES, effective September 30, 2022
8. Rochel Evans, elementary teacher, W.S. Neal Elementary School (WSNES), effective July 5, 2022
9. Jason Blackwell, industrial maintenance teacher, Escambia Career Readiness Center (ECRC), effective September 30, 2022
1. Nancy Rippstein, history teacher, ECHS, effective September 30, 2022
1. Pamela Driskell, instructional aide, WSNES, to instructional aide, PMJHS, effective September 23, 2022 (replacing Melissa Cosey)
1. Kara Bradley, accountant, Escambia County Board of Education (ECBOE), effective September 12, 2022 (amended date)
2. Travis Stanton, construction /masonry instructor, ECHS, effective September 23, 2022 (replacing Donald Scruggs)
3. Heather Murphy, elementary teacher, RPES, effective October 3, 2022 (replacing Scotty Benton)
4. Tina Hunt, elementary teacher, WSNES, effective October 3, 2022 (replacing Rochelle Evans)
5. Heather Smith, secretary / registrar, W.S. Neal High School (WSNHS), effective September 26, 2022
6. Megan McGuire, teacher aide, WSNHS, effective September 26, 2022 (replacing Brittney Van Winkle)
7. Tehron Stallworth, social studies teacher, WSNHS, effective August 15, 2022 (replacing Gavin Walker)(amended date)
8. Kisha Hagan, special needs bus driver, Brewton Bus Shop, effective September 23, 2022
9. Francis Ward, special needs bus aide, Brewton Bus Shop, effective September 23, 2022
10. Marsha Morris, special needs bus aide, Atmore Bus Shop, effective September 23, 2022 (replacing Vernice Dailey)
11. Anthony Wilson, industrial maintenance teacher, ECRC, effective October 3, 2022 (Replacing Jason Blackwell)
1. Patricia English, office aide, Escambia County Middle School (ECMS), to secretary / registrar, ECMS, effective September 23, 2022
2 Pamela Iutzi, custodian, Flomaton Elementary School (FES), to instructional aide, FES, effective September 19, 2022 (replacing Shelbi Himes)
3. Tanya Massingill, teacher aide, W.S. Neal Middle School (WSNMS), to secretary / registrar, WSNMS, effective September 23, 2022
1. Keyon Thompson, math teacher, ECHS, effective August 11, 2022 (amended date)
1. Approval of employment contract made by and between the ECBOE and Mark Harbison [principal at Flomaton High School]
2. Approval to enter into TEAMS contract with the following employees :
Talia Wright, science teacher, Escambia County High School
Barbara Whatley, science teacher, ECHS
Melvin Jones, math teacher, ECHS
Marcia Adams, math teacher, ECMS
Tyler Parker, math teacher, ECMS
Anna Wheeler, math teacher, ECMS
Murraylee Gonzalez, science teacher, ECMS
Yolonda Walters, science teacher, ECMS
Shannon Turner, science teacher, FHS
Memory Rollin, science teacher, FHS
Philip Bell, math teacher, FHS
Jeffrey Haney, math teacher, FHS
Julie Newton, math teacher, FHS
Karen Andrews, math teacher, FHS
Samuel Robinson, science teacher, FHS
Cynthia Davis, math teacher, FES
Rachael Knowles, math teacher, PMJHS
Daniel Hodge, math teacher, WSNHS