Thorsby meeting will feature superintendent candidates

Published 8:22 am Thursday, September 16, 2010

By Stephen Dawkins

Parents of Thorsby students are concerned about the future of the school, and they will have the opportunity Thursday to ask about it.

The three candidates for Chilton County superintendent of education will take questions at Thorsby’s second parental involvement meeting of the year, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in the school auditorium.

The monthly meetings, which are open to anyone interested in education at Thorsby, have replaced the school’s parent organization, a club with a fee required for membership.

“We’re just trying to educate the community a little more about how schools are funded and how decisions are made,” Thorsby Principal Russ Bryan said.

More than 900 students are enrolled at Thorsby, making it the county’s largest single campus. So, Bryan said parents are anxious to know what direction the superintendent hopefuls would take.

“The No. 1 question I’ve been hearing since the last meeting is, they want to know plans for the future of Thorsby School,” Bryan said. “We can hold what we’ve got—we can house the students we have now—but what’s the future?”

The school uses two mobile classrooms, but Bryan said those are for part-time instruction. But if the school took on more students, more space would be necessary.

Provision of basic school supplies is also an issue, said Pam Price, who organized this month’s meeting.

“Last year, my child did not have a textbook in any of her classes—that’s why I got involved,” Price said.

Questions at the forum will come from audience members and will be screened by a panel that will include Thorsby First Baptist Pastor Von McQueen and retired teachers Jerry Jones and Charlotte Kelley. Candidates will not know what questions will be asked beforehand.

The parental involvement meeting will also feature a cake auction, with proceeds to benefit the school. “Dollar” Bill Lawson of Birmingham radio station 102.5 The Bull will help with that portion of the meeting and will even bake a pound cake to be auctioned off.

The parental involvement group has already helped purchase new curtains for the Thorsby auditorium and will also implement the Partners in Education program at the school.

Meeting dates and locations could vary each month, Bryan said, to keep open the option of having different activities—a play put on by a class, for example. Last month, about 40 attendees went over testing guidelines.

“We just need more community involvement,” Price said.