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BOE authorizes $1.4M spending

New phones, intercoms, capital projects included


News Staff Writer

The Escambia County Board of Education worked through a lengthy agenda that included numerous funding matters during the BOE meeting held last Thursday (October 27) at Escambia County High School.

By the time the meeting ended, the board had approved or considered approval of almost $2 million in expenditures — most of it from Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds and federal funds for technology and student safety upgrades — for items ranging from capital projects, to the purchase of more than 300 high-tech phones and new intercom systems for 17 schools or other BOE facilities.

All but $474,000 of the spending proposals earned board approval.

The largest expenditure— $717,530.68 — is for the purchase, installation and service of the new intercom systems that will be installed in two phases and are to be purchased from KAM Technologies.

The first phase provides for new systems at five schools that have “extreme, high-need,” including Huxford Elementary and Rachel Patterson Elementary, and comes at a total cost of $212,270.48. The second phase costs $505,260.20 and includes a dozen sites, among them the Atmore Central Office, Atmore Bus Shop, Escambia County Middle School (ECMS) and Escambia County High School (ECHS).

“My first day on the job, I walked into the office and thought our intercom system was like a joke, or maybe a historical display,” said Superintendent of Education Michele McClung. “Those intercoms, which are an integral part of our safety system, were designed back in 1984. We’re now in 2022.”

Jamie Burkett, Technology Coordinator for county schools, agreed that the time had come to upgrade the intercom network.

“We’ve been working on this for a long time,” he said. “It’s time to take the next step as far as this intercom system. There are a lot of shortcomings with our intercom system.”

Burkett reported that the new system had “built-in cost savings” and would include school bells, intercoms and phone system.

That purchase goes hand in hand with the first technology upgrade approved by the board, the purchase of 329 new Cisco IP phones, also from KAM Technologies. The total cost of the high-tech phones — $462,158.66 — brings the total bill for the systemwide communications upgrade to $679,481.74.

The board voted unanimously to approve all three proposals as one.

The next agenda item, consideration of a $474,000 bid for reroofing the school system’s concrete block maintenance building, was put on hold after District 3’s Mike Edwards interjected his thoughts.

“This is part of the insurance money from the tornado that damaged the shop where our technology repair is,” Edwards said. “The roofing system is somewhat of a dinosaur. The whole building is probably not worth $474,000. It just kills me to put that kind of money in a roof. They always leak, and if we had to replace this one again, it would be another half-million dollars, so I would like to table this to give Mr. (Deputy Director of Operations Shaun) Goolsby other things to do.

“You could probably tear down that building and build a metal building for that kind of money. We have insurance money here, so you’ll have to see what they will allow. Secondly, if we can’t do that, we could put a gabled roof on it. It would be money well spent to have the architects look at it.”

The last large expenditure approved by the board was acceptance of a $244,450 bid submitted by Walker Construction & Consulting Services LLC for the replacement of canopies and parking lot light poles at W.S. Neal High.

Also during the meeting, the board:

*Approved entry into an owner-architect agreement with Lathan Associates Architects for portable classrooms at Flomaton Elementary to help alleviate crowding.

*Approved a school resource officer agreement between county schools and the county sheriff’s office.

*Approved an owner-architect agreement with Lathan Associates for the demolition of the former Escambia County Middle School on Martin Luther King Avenue in Atmore.

*Heard from Chief Schools Financial Officer Rochelle Richardson that the school system had on September 30 an unreserved fund balance of $18,202,707.81, equivalent to 5.42 months of operations.

*Heard from Matthew Fillmore, who addressed the board for 5 minutes on his concerns about the lack of emergency medical professionals at high school football games, especially at Flomaton High, as well as other concerns related to FHS athletics.

*Approved a board policy revision related to Extended Programs: Community Education that had been tabled at the last regular BOE meeting.

*Approved the FY 2023 Stability for Foster Students LEA Plan.

*Approved the expenditure of $74,206.78 as one item consisting of six different purchases of lunchroom equipment or fixtures for schools in or just outside Atmore, including Huxford Elementary, A.C. Moore Elementary, ECMS and ECHS.

*Approved the superintendent’s recommendation for the expulsion of an Escambia County Middle School Student for a period of up to one calendar year for violation of the Escambia County School System Board Policy / Student Code of Conduct. Per the Escambia County Board of Education Policy 4.2.1, the Superintendent will allow student to receive educational services through Escambia County Alternative School / Virtual School. Prior to the vote, the student’s attorney, Karean Reynolds, asked for leniency for his client, saying the student was remorseful for his action. Reynolds also asked for the board’s mercy so the student would not lose a year of his education. The superintendent’s recommendation calls for virtual school services so the student would not lose his year of school.

The BOE approved the following personnel recommendations by Superintendent McClung.


1. Maranda Johnson, Office Aide, Escambia County High School (ECHS), effective October 19, 2022

2. Timothy Milton, Custodian, Escambia County High School, effective October 21, 2022

3. Rebecca Murray, Counselor, Huxford Elementary School (HES), effective October 14, 2022

4. Lindsay Mims-Banks, teacher aide, Rachel Patterson Elementary School (RPES), effective September 30, 2022

5. Heather Murphy, elementary teacher, RPES, effective October 21, 2022

6. Kelly Mitchell, counselor, WS Neal Elementary School, (WSNES) effective October 18, 2022


1. Douglas Forbes, social studies teacher, ECHS, effective October 28, 2022 (replacing Nancy Rippstein)

2. Kim Yarber, English/  language arts teacher, ECHS, effective October 4, 2022 (replacing Tawana Jones)

3. Zachary Calhoun, math teacher, ECHS, effective September 29, 2022 (replacing Keyon Thompson)

4. Daphne Sullivan, math teacher, Escambia County Middle School (ECMS), effective October 31, 2022 (replacing Rachel Wood)

5. Timothy Milton, custodian, ECHS, effective September 29, 2022 (replacing Bonnie Johnson)

6. Mary Fails, instructional aide, ECHS, effective September 29, 2022 (replacing Latonia Brooks)

7. Jennifer Burkett, custodian, Flomaton Elementary School (FES), effective October 28, 2022 (replacing Pam Iutzi)

8. Brandi Graham, custodian, Flomaton High School (FHS), effective October 3, 2022 (replacing James Burnham)

9. Beverly VanHoosen, 7-Hour lunchroom worker, Pollard McCall Junior High School (PMJHS),effective November 1, 2022 (replacing Sherry Atkins)

10. Leketha Bradley, site coordinator, Academic Recovery Response Plan After School Program, PMJHS, effective November 1, 2022

11. Heather Kirkland, teacher, Academic Recovery Response Plan After School Program, PMJHS, effective November 1, 2022

12. Connie Grasham, aide, After School Childcare Program, PMJHS, effective August 29, 2022 through October 27, 2022 (paid at $25/hr. from local funds)

13. Candice Bonner, aide, After School Childcare Program, PMJHS, effective August 29, 2022 through October 27, 2022 (paid at $25/hr. from local funds)

14. Dorothy Sams, custodian, RPES, effective October 11, 2022

15. James Hayles, custodian, RPES, effective November 1, 2022 (replacing Quaunhntel Hill)

16. Nakiedra Brown, instructional aide, RPES, effective November 1, 2022 (replacing Lindsay Mims-Banks)

17. Ally Edwards, elementary teacher, RPES, effective November 1, 2022 (replacing Amanda Crowder-Flowers)

18. Pamela Wyatt, secretary / bookkeeper, WSNES, effective October 3, 2022 (replacing Misty Joyner)

19. Morgan Miller, instructional aide, WSNES, effective October 17, 2022 (replacing Pamela Driskell)

20. Tina Hunt, elementary teacher, WSNES, effective October 7, 2022 (replacing Rochelle Evans)(Amended date)

21. Don Grantham, bus driver, Atmore Bus Shop, effective October 28, 2022 (replacing Lillie Williams)

22. Lewis Brooks, bus driver, Atmore Bus Shop, effective October 28, 2022 (replacing Deborah Harrison)

Employment change

1. Jennifer Strawbridge, special education aide, FES, to counselor, Huxford Elementary School, effective October 28, 2022 (replacing Rebecca Murray)

2 Pamela Iutzi, instructional aide, FES, to special education aide, effective November 1, 2022 (replacing Jennifer Strawbridge)

3. Kasey Atkins, pre-K auxiliary teacher aide, A.C. Moore Elementary School, to special education aide, HES, effective October 28, 2022 

4. Stephanie Mosley, special education aide, RPES, to office aide, Escambia County High School, effective November 1, 2022 (replacing Maranda Johnson)

5. Meagan Barragan, English / language arts teacher, W.S. Neal Middle School, to counselor, WSNES effective November 7, 2022 (replacing Kelly Mitchell)


1. Carolyn Galbraith, special education aide, HES, effective October 22, 2022